Skip to main content

Full text of "The print of my remembrance"

See other formats






from  .)  />//"'". ''•'/>''  l>y  Whit. 







NEW  YORK     •     LONDON 


COPYRIGHT,  1922,  BY 


Copyright  1921,  1922,  by  the  Curtis  Publishing  Co. 

Printed  in  the  United  State*  of  America 

College    - 





The  publishers  are  doing  all  they  possibly  can  to  make 
a  success  of  this  book — they  call  it  a  book — and  they  have 
asked  me  for  a  dedication. 

After  the  manner  of  mid-Victorian  poets,  I  could  have 

made  the  dedication  mysteriously  to  "Dear  B 

M ,"  but  I  used  to  know  a  girl  of  those  initials;  my 

wife  also  knew  her.  Her  name  was  Mary  Brannigan. 
But  nobody  of  intelligence  is  going  to  be  deceived  by  a 
mere  transposition  of  initials,  so  I  thought  I  might  win 
as  much  as  I  stood  to  lose  by  coming  right  out  with  it 
and  saying  Brander  Matthews. 

I  learned  in  the  railroad  yard  that  separate  cars  thrown 
in  on  the  same  track  could  subsequently  be  coupled  up, 
then  hitched  to  something  with  power  enough  to  push 
or  pull  them  out  as  a  freight  train;  perhaps  with  hope- 
ful attention  to  the  English  market  I  should  say,  "goods 
train."  Nobody  knows  better  than  yourself  the  differ- 
ence between  push  and  pull,  and  having  both  you  might 
be  willing,  I  thought,  to  assist  a  fellow  who  has  neither, 
especially  as  my  cars  when  they  are  not  empty  contain 
stuff  that  is  perishable. 

Then  I  had  another  idea.  There  is  a  story  of  General 
Custer  at  the  head  of  a  marching  column  on  our  American 
plains  one  day  in  the  middle  seventies.  He  suddenly 
threw  up  his  hand  after  the  manner  of  Western  com- 
manders, gave  a  signal,  and  moved  sharply  "column 



right"  over  a  rod  or  so,  then  resumed  direction.  Every 
pair  of  troopers  reaching  the  first  angle  peered  eagerly 
forward  to  see  what  had  deflected  the  march.  In  the 
dried  brush  was  the  nest  of  a  meadow-lark.  The  bird 
was  frightened  and  had  flown,  but  the  nest  had  four 
eggs  in  it. 

At  the  head  of  the  marching  column  of  reviewers  your 
gesture  has  all  the  authority  that  Custer's  had  with  those 
troopers,  and  you  have  the  same  sympathetic  apprehen- 
sion of  possibilities.  Many  readers  will  immediately 
infer  the  low  and  defenseless  character  of  my  hopes  and 
incubations  when  I  simply  say  Dear  Brander. 

And  some  critics  are  as  gentle  as  cavalrymen. 
Affectionately  yours, 








IV.  ADVENTURES  OF  A  PAGE  BOY  IN  CONGRESS       .     .  43 
V.  GROWING  UP  IN  ST.  Louis 64 


VII.  NEW  FRIENDS  AND  YOUTHFUL  EXPLOITS      .     .     .  105 




XI.  JOURNALISM  IN  ST.  Louis 191 




XV.  MAURICE  BARRYMORE  AND  "THE  BURGLAR"     .      .  261 



XVIII.  THE  EARLY  go's 309 






XXII.     IN  PARIS 396 


XXIV.  "THE  WITCHING  HOUR"  AND  OTHERS     ....  437 


INDEX 469 


Augustus  Thomas Frontispiece 


Imogene  Garrettson  Thomas,  mother  of  Augustus  Thomas,  at 

eighteen  years  of  age 4 

Sarah  Wilson  Garrettson,  Mr.  Thomas's  grandmother,  in  her 

fifties 10 

John  W.  Norton 90 

John  Peck  Colby,  father  of  Mrs.  Thomas.     1865      .      .      .      .  no 

E.  B.  Thomas,  father  of  Augustus  Thomas.     1865   .      .      .      .  no 

Cartoon  drawn  by  Mr.  Thomas  for  the  St.  Louis  World  in  1880  124 

Two  scenes  from  "The  Professor,"  in  which  William  Gillette 

appeared.     1882 138 

Delia  Fox  and  the  curl  she  made  famous 156 

The  Dickson  Sketch  Club,  at  Minnehaha  Falls,   Minnesota. 

1884 162 

Edwin  Booth  as  Hamlet 230 

Julia  Marlowe  as  Juliet.     1889 248 

Maurice  Barrymore  in  1888 262 

Augustus  Thomas  in  1888 262 

Charles  L.  Harris  and  E.  M.  Holland  as  Squire  Tucker  and 

Colonel  Moberly  in  "Alabama" 294 

Charles  Frohman 302 

Caricatures  from  Mr.  Thomas's  Sketch  Book.     1891-93     .      .     326 
L.  J.  B.  Lincoln,  F.  W.  Ruckstull,  Augustus  Thomas,  E.  W.  Kemble, 
Francis  Wilson,  Frederic  Remington 

Caricatures  from  Mr.  Thomas's  Sketch  book.     1891-93     .      .     424 

Sydney  Rosenfeld,  General  George  Sheridan,  William  Marion  Reedy  j 
Cyril  Scott,  Henry  Guy  Carleton 



In  the  month  of  January,  1857,  Abraham  Lincoln  was 
practising  law  in  Springfield,  Illinois.  At  Guernsey, 
Victor  Hugo,  in  exile,  was  preparing  the  last  volume 
of  "Les  Miserables,"  and  was  writing  Shakespeare,  the 
greatest  of  his  single  volumes.  Germany  was  alarmed 
over  the  success  of  the  French  in  Lombardy,  and  Bavaria 
was  preparing  for  war.  The  Queen  of  England,  then  in 
the  twentieth  year  of  her  reign,  was  planning  to  establish 
the  Order  of  the  Victoria  Cross,  and  was  having  bronze 
medals  cast  from  Russian  cannon  recently  captured  at 
Sebastopol.  In  the  United  States,  President  Franklin 
Pierce  was  getting  ready  to  retire  in  March,  and  James 
Buchanan,  his  successor,  was  preparing  his  inaugural 

Ralph  Waldo  Emerson,  then  in  his  fifty-third  year, 
was  lecturing  in  Philadelphia,  New  York,  Ohio,  and 
Illinois,  and  John  Brown,  of  Ossawatomie,  Kansas,  was 
making  speeches  in  Eastern  States,  and  stimulating  the 
committees  who  were  financially  helping  the  people  of 
Kansas  to  resist  the  raids  of  the  Missouri  Border  Ruf- 
fians. U.  S.  Grant  was  living  with  his  wife's  folks  on  a 
farm  near  St.  Louis,  much  distressed  by  fever  and  ague, 
and  occasionally  driving  a  load  of  cordwood  to  the  city. 
The  Supreme  Court  at  Washington  was  considering  for 


the  second  time  the  question  of  the  liberty  of  the  negro 
slave,  Died  Scott.  Mr.  Lincoln,  at  Springfield,  was 
anxiously  awaiting  their  decision  before  expressing  him- 
self as  he  subsequently  did  in  such  immortal  fashion. 

On  the  eighth  day  of  that  month,  in  that  year,  I  was 
born  in  a  little  house  in  what  was  then  the  outskirts  of 
St.  Louis,  Missouri. 

Of  this  important  concurrent  event  none  of  the  great 
personages  above  referred  to  knew  anything  at  first  hand, 
which  must  not  fairly  imply  neglect  on  their  part, 
because  all  of  my  own  impressions  of  them  were  sub- 
sequently and  slowly  formed  on  hearsay  and  report.  I 
mention  these  great  personages  principally  to  fix  in  the 
reader's  mind  some  conditions  and  the  time.  But  they 
are  mentioned,  also,  because  most  of  them  began  soon 
afterward  to  take  place  and  shape — somewhat  distorted 
shape,  perhaps — in  my  first  permanent  memories. 

Buchanan  took  office  under  the  handicap  of  our  family 
disapproval,  because  responding  to  certain  preelection 
pledges  he  permitted  the  recall  from  Falmouth,  England, 
of  my  maternal  grandmother's  second  husband,  who  had 
been  sent  there  as  United  States  consul  by  Franklin 
Pierce;  and,  without  generalizing  too  hastily,  I  may  say 
that  a  similar  lack  of  judgment,  according  to  my  people, 
characterized  nearly  the  whole  of  Buchanan's  adminis- 
tration. Grandmother  was  there  with  this  second  hus- 
band. I  don't  know  how  the  wife  of  a  consul  at  Fal- 
mouth could  do  it,  but  in  some  way  grandmother,  while 
in  England,  arranged  a  presentation  to  the  Queen,  so 
that  with  us  in  North  St.  Louis,  Victoria  was  a  household 

I  was  two  years  old  when  John  Brown  was  hanged, 
and,  of  course,  understood  nothing  of  it.  Victor  Hugo, 


in  his  exile  for  liberty,  with  his  great  sympathy  for  the 
oppressed  in  every  land,  was  eloquent  in  his  appeal  to 
the  American  public  to  save  itself  from  this  moral  stain 
and  from  a  crime  "odious  as  the  first  sad  fratricide." 
He  cried:  "Let  America  be  aware  that  more  terrible 
than  Cain  slaying  Abel  would  be  Washington  killing 

By  the  time  I  was  four  and  able  in  childish  fashion  to 
carry  a  tune  the  land  was  alive  with  the  music  of  brass 
bands.  Of  course,  the  spirit  of  John  Brown  was  the  im- 
portant element,  but  for  many  years  after  that  time  I 
was  not  so  acutely  conscious  of  anything  else  as  that 
"John  Brown's  body  lies  a-mouldering  in  the  ground." 
If  we  recall  the  persistence  of  George  Cohan's  "Over 
There,"  during  the  two  years  of  the  war  just  passed,  we 
will  have  some  fractional  measurement  of  the  hold  that 
tune  of  the  sixties  took  upon  the  Northern  heart. 

Concerning  Grant,  I  had  something  to  say  in  1900. 
Because  this  something  was  spoken  under  excitement 
and  with  a  distinctness  of  recollection  twenty  years 
clearer  than  my  present  impressions,  I  will  print  it  here, 
notwithstanding  its  forensic  taint:  "To  me  Grant  is 
not  a  personage.  He  is  an  epoch.  There  is  a  morning 
filled  with  the  music  of  martial  bands  and  the  color  of 
waving  banners.  I  am  just  tall  enough  to  reach  the  door- 
latch  with  my  mother's  help.  A  booted  trooper  at  the 
door  asks  for  Captain  Thomas,  while  in  the  gutter  stand 
two  champing  steeds  with  saddles  of  black  and  brass, 
deep  as  the  baby's  cradle.  I  see  my  father  ride  through 
the  city  park,  and  note  with  wonderment  my  mother's 
tears.  The  sound  of  *  Grant — Grant — Grant'  is  through 
it  all  like  some  infiltrating  and  saturating  echo — that 


meaningless  sound  of  *  Grant/  which  seems  to  have  some 
trouble  with  another  called  'Fort  Donelson.'  There  are 
shouts  and  salvos,  and  mingling  with  the  cheers  there  is 
the  derisive  song: 

"  'It  was  on  the  tenth  of  May, 
Captain  Kelly  was  away, 
The  Hessians  surrounded  Camp  Jackson.' 

"Years  afterward  I  learned  that  the  Hessians  were 
the  loyal  Germans  of  St.  Louis,  who  under  Francis  P. 
Blair  marched  to  her  defence. 

"Another  happening  of  that  Homeric  day  is  a  fair 
where  my  mother  holds  me  high  in  the  crowd  that  I  may 
see  a  child  impersonating  the  old  woman  who  lived  in  a 
shoe,  and  had  so  many  children  she  didn't  know  what 
to  do.  That  little  girl  with  the  cap  and  spectacles  is 
Nellie  Grant,  selling  her  dolls  to  buy  clothes  for  soldiers; 
and  now  there  drifts  into  my  ideas  vaguely  the  concep- 
tion that  this  echo,  this  shibboleth,  this  Grant  is  a  man, 
a  father,  not  nearly  so  kind  and  low-voiced  as  my  own 
father,  not  so  tender,  nor  so  full  of  laughter,  nor  so  long 
away  from  home  as  my  father,  but  still  a  father,  tangible 
and  human,  and  maybe  good  to  that  little  girl  at  whom 
the  men  and  women  wave  their  handkerchiefs. 

"Then  there  is  the  illumination,  when  the  night  is 
come.  The  candles  stuck  in  potatoes  behind  the  tri- 
color tissue-paper  in  the  windows;  and  the  tar  barrels 
are  crackling  in  the  street.  Suddenly  all  is  dark.  I  am 
frightened  by  an  undefined  menace.  The  young  mother, 
in  her  night-robe,  is  kneeling  with  me  at  the  open  win- 
dow, one  blanket  above  us  both,  the  sky  filled  with  the 
twinkle  of  the  summer  stars,  and  the  air  heavy  with  the 
weedy  smell  from  the  bottom-lands  of  Illinois.  Yet  it  is 


From  a  daguerreotype  taken  in  1851. 


none  of  these,  but  rather  a  tump-tump-tump-like  pulse,  a 
rhythm  that  my  mother  whispers  is  the  tramp  of  soldiers. 

"  It  was  the  heartbeat  of  a  startled  nation.  I  can  re- 
call it  now,  with  all  the  mystery  and  magic  of  the  potent 
and  unseen,  and  it  is  moving  to  some  ghostlike  place 
called  Island  Number  10  or  Vicksburg,  and  Grant  is 
there  in  whispers. 

"That  is  my  Grant,  a  member  of  that  Apocrypha  of 
the  nursery  to  which  belong  the  Bluebeards  and  the 
Giant  Killers. 

"I  saw  him  once,  in  the  winter  of  1870,  at  Washing- 
ton, when  the  Senate  and  House  had  gathered  in  the 
Hall  of  Representatives,  at  the  funeral  of  General  George 
H.  Thomas.  The  imperial  Elaine  was  in  the  chair,  and 
in  a  semicircle  of  seats  in  front  of  his  desk  were  the 
cabinet  and  a  short,  high-shouldered,  round-headed  man 
with  whiskers.  Grant !  I  felt  the  same  shock  that  a 
little  girl  of  to-day,  full  of  'Alice  in  Wonderland/  would 
feel  if  she  were  shown  Lewis  Carroll  and  told,  '  That  is 
your  story.'  ' 

Before  the  war  my  father  was  associated  with  Mr. 
W.  N.  Wells,  among  others,  in  the  formation  of  the  Re- 
publican Party  in  the  St.  Louis  district.  They  were  in 
occasional  correspondence  with  Mr.  Lincoln  at  Spring- 
field, not  yet  the  great  emancipator,  but  just  a  clever 
debater  who  was  attracting  attention  in  the  West.  One 
of  those  original  letters,  addressed  to  Mr.  Wells,  not  to 
my  father,  is  between  two  panes  of  glass  in  a  frame  and 
a  folder  in  my  library.  It  does  not  add  much  to  the 
volume  of  Lincoln's  product,  but  as  it  has  been  in  print 
only  in  connection  with  my  play,  "The  Copperhead," 
this  extract  may  have  for  many  a  genuine  interest: 


All  dallying  with  Douglas  by  Republicans,  who  are  such  at  heart, 
is  at  the  very  least,  time  and  labor  lost;  and  all  such,  who  so  dally 
with  him,  will  yet  bite  their  lips  in  vexation  for  their  own  folly.  His 
policy  which  rigorously  excludes  all  idea  of  there  being  any  wrong 
in  slavery,  does  lead  inevitably  to  the  denationalization  of  the  Con- 
stitution; and  all  who  deprecate  that  consummation  and  yet  are 
seduced  into  his  support,  do  but  cut  their  own  throats.  True,  Doug- 
las bos  opposed  the  administration  on  one  measure,  and  yet  may 
on  some  other;  but  while  he  upholds  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  de- 
clares that  he  cares  not  whether  slavery  be  voted  down  or  voted  up; 
that  it  is  simply  a  question  of  dollars  and  cents,  and  that  the  Al- 
mighty has  drawn  a  line  on  one  side  of  which  labor  must  be  performed 
by  slaves,  to  support  him  or  Buchanan  is  simply  to  reach  the  same 
goal  by  only  slightly  different  roads. 

Very  respectfully, 


I  remember  vividly  incidents  of  the  presidential  cam- 
paign, when  I  was  three  years  old,  that  preceded  Lin- 
coln's first  election.  Father  and  the  family  were  black 
Republicans,  but  in  my  private  heart  I  was  stoutly  for 
Bell  and  Everett  of  the  so-called  Union  Party.  Their 
torchlight  processions  were  the  most  picturesque,  and  at 
intervals  in  their  lines  animated  men  rang  hand-bells, 
with  now  and  then  a  larger  one  on  a  wagon.  There  may 
have  been  older  spectators  and  auditors  as  deeply  im- 

I  remember  the  neighborhood  rejoicing  over  the  elec- 
tion and,  very  soon  thereafter,  everybody  and  the  sol- 
diers singing,  "We  are  coming,  Father  Abraham,  a 
hundred  thousand  strong."  St.  Louis,  except  for  the 
Germans,  was  predominantly  a  Southern  city;  the  di- 
vided feeling  ran  high;  neighborhood  animosities  were 
intense.  There  was  a  builder  named  McCormick  on  the 
other  side  of  our  street  who  had  threatened  to  kill  my 


father.  The  opportunity  apparently  never  safely  offered, 
but  that  and  other  hatred  lasted.  For  example,  the  war 
had  been  over  ten  years  when  on  a  local  election  day 
McCormick,  who  was  a  powerful  fellow,  came  behind 
a  buggy  in  which  I  sat  with  my  father  and  endeavored 
to  overturn  it  by  lifting  the  rear  axle.  I  was  big  enough 
to  engage  in  the  contest  that  followed,  but  the  police 
prevented  a  decision. 

These  Civil  War  events  and  childish  impressions  from 
them  have  no  historic  value,  but  they  are  the  stuff  that 
focused  and  perhaps  formed  my  tendencies;  the  stuff 
that  influenced  my  mature  associations  and  endeavors, 
and  became  the  background  and  much  of  the  material 
of  my  professional  work.  When  I  compare  these  early 
influences  to  determine  which  of  them  was  the  most  po- 
tent in  fixing  whatever  may  be  persistent  in  my  course, 
I  think  I  must  give  predominance  to  the  influence  of 
the  grandmother  already  mentioned.  She  was  so  un- 
swerving in  her  intentions  toward  me,  so  positive  in  her 
assumptions,  so  constant  that  I  remember  her  influence 
not  only  as  personal  and  intimate  but  also  as  oracular 
and  imperative.  I  have  written  her  into  three  different 
plays  quite  intentionally,  and  perhaps  into  forty  others 
by  some  indirection.  I  think,  therefore,  that  a  fuller 
statement  of  grandmother  is  pertinent. 

Her  father's  name  was  Wilson,  her  mother's  name 
was  Walker — both  names  recently  crowded  from  the 
advertisements,  but  they  had  spirited  associations  even 
in  my  childhood.  William  Walker,  who  led  his  filibusters 
into  Nicaragua,  was  grandmother's  cousin,  and  she  was 
proud  of  him.  Her  only  brother  was  killed  on  that  ex- 
pedition. Grandmother's  first  husband  was  Daniel 
Garrettson,  a  boat-builder  of  Cincinnati.  He  was  lost 


in  a  river  accident  while  my  mother  was  still  a  little 

The  second  husband  was  an  actor  turned  editor  when 
Pierce  gave  him  the  consulship  at  Falmouth.  After 
Buchanan's  inauguration  this  second  husband  made  his 
home  in  Washington  City,  while  grandmother  lived  in 
St.  Louis  to  be  near  us  and  as  far  as  possible  from  him. 
I  remember  his  monthly  remittances,  which  were  regular 
and  not  large,  but  beautiful.  They  came  during  the 
early  war  period  in  newly  printed  paper  shinplasters, 
in  sheets  measuring  each  about  eighteen  by  twenty-four 
inches;  each  sheet  having  one  hundred  pieces  of  frac- 
tional currency  and  each  piece  with  a  value  of  three, 
five,  ten,  or  twenty-five  cents,  according  to  the  respective 
denomination  of  the  sheet. 

When  I  grew  big  enough  not  to  make  the  sport  too 
expensive  I  was  permitted  to  cut  these  sheets  into  their 
component  units.  Any  one  who  has  ever  cut  a  coupon 
from  a  Liberty  Bond  that  didn't  belong  to  him  can  esti- 
mate my  thrills  over  these  small,  crisp  steel  engravings 
of  historic  Americans  serving  as  scenery  for  federal 
promises  to  pay  on  demand.  A  percentage  of  these  re- 
mittances each  month  went  into  the  war  relief  of  the 
time.  Recruits  from  Illinois  and  Iowa  passed  grand- 
mother's door  and  cheered  it.  The  flag  with  its  thirty- 
four  stars  hung  from  her  window,  and  whenever  a  march- 
ing detachment  swung  into  view  a  table  draped  with 
bunting  in  her  little  dooryard  was  quickly  equipped  with 
refreshments.  Some  of  the  fellows  needed  them.  For 
any  chap  especially  distressed  a  reviving  nip  could  be 
unostentatiously  produced.  At  that  time  whiskey,  which 
had  cost  eighteen  cents  a  gallon  when  Lincoln  kept  store 


in  Sangamon  County,  had  risen  to  thirty-five  cents  a 
gallon.  You  can't  stop  the  profiteers.  Between  times 
grandmother  did  volunteer  work  on  uniforms. 

On  the  mantel-shelf  of  the  study  in  which  I  am  writing 
in  New  Rochelle  is  a  black  wooden  crucifix  about  six- 
teen inches  high  supported  by  a  base.  The  brass  figure 
of  the  Saviour  is  apparently  a  copy  of  Donatello.  This 
was  always  a  prominent  object  in  grandmother's  parlor. 
Archbishop  Purcell,  of  Cincinnati,  returning  from  a  visit 
to  Rome,  had  brought  it  to  her  when  she  was  first  mar- 
ried, with  the  blessing  of  Pius  IX.  Grandmother  was 
then  a  Catholic,  but  some  act  or  failure  to  act,  some  ut- 
terance or  some  silence  by  some  Missouri  churchman 
upon  the  question  of  secession  sent  grandmother  over 
to  the  M.  E.  Church  North. 

In  Simpson  Chapel,  Union  sentiments  were  vocal 
and  extemporaneous,  and  there  grandmother  inhaled  and 
exhaled  an  atmosphere  of  militant  loyalty.  Twice  every 
Sunday  and  at  least  one  night  of  the  week  she  went  there 
to  meeting.  With  father  at  the  front,  I  was  the  only 
male  creature  in  our  two  households,  and  though  mother 
thought  a  boy  of  six  or  seven  shouldn't  be  up  so  late,  I 
loved  to  act  as  the  old  lady's  escort.  The  streets  of  North 
St.  Louis  at  night  were  not  lighted  at  that  period;  the 
chapel  was  four  blocks  away  and  the  natives  were  not 
friendly.  But  grandmother  had  a  square  lantern  such 
as  Dogberry  carries,  with  three  sides  of  tin,  perforated 
like  a  horseradish  grater,  and  a  fourth  side  of  glass.  It 
held  a  candle  and  swung  by  a  tin  ring  larger  than  a  muffin 
mold.  With  that  candle  lighted  and  the  right  wing  of 
her  Valley  Forge  circular  thrown  over  her  left  shoulder, 
the  handsome  old  lady,  then  about  fifty,  used  to  go  forth 
with  me.  In  that  fashion  I  began  to  save  the  nation  as 


vaguely  then  as  we  all  of  us  still  continue — a  few  steps 
in  the  dark,  each  holding  to  some  fallible  hand  in  which 
we  have  great  faith. 

At  that  time  our  home  was  still  in  my  birthplace,  the 
end  house  of  a  dozen  called  Bates'  Row  on  Tenth  Street; 
brick  buildings  of  almost  toy  dimensions,  having  three 
rooms  and  a  lean-to  kitchen  each,  and  little  dooryards 
back  and  front.  Grandmother  occupied  the  house  next 
to  us  with  her  widowed  sister  and  a  pretty  niece  named 
Alice  Witham.  As  a  youngster  I  thought  she  was  the 
Sweet  Alice  discussed  in  the  lyrical  appeal  to  Ben  Bolt, 
and  I  had  Ben  cast  in  the  person  of  a  sturdy  soldier  who 
called  irregularly  until  a  black-bordered  envelope  with 
crossed  flags  on  it  explained  his  absence.  I  remember 
Alice  still  disconsolate  as  a  handsome  youth,  also  living 
in  the  same  row  and  not  quite  old  enough  for  the  war — 
except  as  drummer-boy,  which  he  was  for  a  while — sang 
under  her  window.  The  police  then  tolerated  that  noc- 
turnal custom.  This  singer  was  J.  K.  Emmett,  about 
sixteen  years  old  at  that  time.  Grandmother  forgave 
him  when  he  sang,  as  everybody  did,  but  at  other  times 
he  was  on  her  bad  books.  His  sister  Eliza  had  a  con- 
tralto voice  as  fine  as  Jo's  tenor.  Eliza  sang  at  Simp- 
son Chapel,  and  Jo,  who  came  to  take  her  home  now  and 
then,  preferred  to  practise  jig  steps  on  the  board  walk 
in  front  rather  than  wait  inside,  where  vociferously  mine 
and  grandmother's  and  the  little  congregation's  "days 
were  passing  swiftly  by."  Eliza  Emmett  Wycoff  became 
one  of  the  notable  singers  of  the  city.  With  Jo  Emmett, 
Our  Fritz,  the  women  of  two  continents  fell  in  love,  and 
true  to  precedent  forgave  completely  his  many  missteps. 

Grandmother's  opinion  was  the  most  decisive  in  our 
family.  I  had  no  way  of  knowing  it  wasn't  so  in  the  na- 



tion.  Her  impatience  with  McCIellan  and  Grant  and 
even  Lincoln  seemed  to  have  an  effect.  At  any  rate, 
things  happened  when  she  got  mad  enough.  She  per- 
manently affected  my  early  admirations.  After  a  sol- 
dier, an  orator  was  the  finest  type.  She  had  heard  Web- 
ster in  the  Senate  and  Andrew  Jackson  elsewhere,  and 
gauged  my  early  diction  by  those  standards.  As  I  re- 
view it  mentally,  I  think  there  may  have  been  a  little  of 
the  theatre  about  her,  but  it  was  good  theatre;  a  sense 
of  the  effective,  nothing  of  the  insincere.  In  her  prophecy 
I  joined  her  strangely  assorted  gallery  of  the  great,  and 
always  found  her  hope  and  her  belief  associating  me  with 
Jackson  and  Webster,  Lincoln,  Edwin  Forrest,  Char- 
lotte Cushman  and  Archbishop  Purcell.  It  was  a  good 
deal  to  ask  of  a  lad  of  seven,  but  I  took  a  run  at  it. 

My  father,  as  a  bachelor  aged  nineteen,  had  gone  to 
the  Mexican  War  via  Leavenworth  on  the  historic  Doni- 
phan  Expedition  and  during  the  subsequent  experience 
was  an  aide-de-camp  on  General  Taylor's  staff.  He 
sustained  there  an  injury  that  disqualified  him  somewhat 
from  extended  service  when  he  raised  a  company  of 
volunteers  for  the  Civil  War,  and  therefore  as  soon  as 
the  immediate  menace  to  Missouri  was  past  he  resigned 
from  the  army,  and  was  elected  to  the  Missouri  Legis- 
lature. When  Farragut  ran  the  blockade  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Mississippi  and  took  New  Orleans  there  was  a 
demand  for  entertainment  by  the  Northern  troops  who 
occupied  the  city  similar  to  the  demand  that  came  from 
the  American  Expeditionary  Forces  recently  in  France. 

Father  thereupon  resigned  his  seat  in  the  legislature, 
and  together  with  Ben  de  Bar,  one  of  the  foremost  comic 
actors  of  America,  the  only  great  Falstaff  I  ever  saw, 
and  a  manager  named  Tom  Davey — who  subsequently 


married  one  of  the  Maddern  sisters  and  became  the  father 
of  Minnie  Maddern,  now  Mrs.  Harrison  Grey  Fiske — 
reopened  the  St.  Charles  Theatre  in  New  Orleans.  This 
was  in  the  fall  of  1863.  The  party  took  with  them  the 
Revel  family,  dancers  and  acrobats,  and  among  others 
a  comedian  named  George  Chapman. 

Although  New  Orleans  had  fallen  a  year  before,  the 
Mississippi  for  much  of  its  length  below  St.  Louis  was 
sporadically  commanded  by  Confederate  guns,  so  that 
this  little  theatrical  company  had  to  run  their  blockades 
on  a  steamboat  protected  by  piled-up  cotton-bales. 
There  was  a  long,  successful  season  at  the  theatre,  which 
those  lessees  closed  at  the  end  of  March  in  1865.  I  dis- 
tinctly remember  my  father's  return,  bringing  with  him 
a  large  cage  holding  two  mocking-birds,  which  had  to 
have  boiled  eggs,  and  also  carrying  several  bunches  of 
bananas  protected  by  pink  mosquito-netting.  A  third 
item  in  his  baggage  was  a  box  of  photographs  of  theatrical 
celebrities  who  had  been  visiting  stars  at  the  theatre. 
Among  these  were  some  pictures  of  the  talented  and 
eccentric  Adah  Isaacs  Menken.  According  to  my  mother, 
these  photographs  did  not  warrant  my  father's  estimate 
of  Adah's  beauty.  I  remember  the  pictures  too  imper- 
fectly at  this  date  to  umpire  the  difference  of  opinion. 

Another  attractive  photograph  was  that  of  a  young 
woman  in  a  pancake  hat,  a  short  smart  basque  and  a 
wide  expanse  of  crinoline.  She  was  the  gifted  Mathilda 
Heron,  mother  of  Bijou  Heron,  now  Mrs.  Henry  Miller, 
and  grandmother  of  Gilbert  Miller,  who  has  recently 
been  announced  as  the  manager  to  succeed  the  late  Alt 
Hayman  in  charge  of  the  Empire  Theatre,  New  York. 

There  were  a  half  dozen  photographs  of  a  singularly 
handsome  man,  each  of  them  inscribed  "To  my  dear 


Tom" — my  father's  friends  called  him  intimately  by  his 
last  name  in  preference  to  the  given  one  of  Elihu — and 
signed  John  Wilkes  Booth.  Although  my  father  was  ten 
years  Booth's  senior,  he  and  Booth  had  been  rather  boon 
companions  in  New  Orleans,  and  coming  from  the  same 
theatre,  wearing  the  same  kind  of  mustachios  and  the 
clubbed  hair  of  the  period,  were  so  alike  that  each  was 
sometimes  mistaken  for  the  other. 

Father  had  not  been  back  long  enough  at  our  St.  Louis 
home  to  lose  the  guestlike  novelty  of  his  presence,  when 
on  the  morning  of  April  fifteenth,  something  having  gone 
wrong  the  day  before  with  the  family  baking,  I  was  sent 
from  the  breakfast-table  to  the  corner  grocery  for  an 
extra  loaf  of  bread.  The  weather  was  unusually  warm 
for  that  season,  even  in  St.  Louis.  Saturday  was  a  school 
holiday.  I  was  barefoot  in  the  first  kid  freedom  of  the 
year,  and  snail-like  on  this  errand  I  travelled  the  short 
block  over  the  unpaved  road,  which  was  ankle-deep  with 
its  cool  bed  of  dust. 

At  the  grocery  I  was  unable  to  get  attention  in  the 
group  that  had  gathered  there  and  was  increasing.  As 
soon  as  I  learned  the  cause  of  the  excitement  I  ran  home, 
burst  into  the  little  dining-room  with  a  repetition  of  the 
cry  "Lincoln's  been  shot!" 

I  can  see  the  family  at  that  table  now,  each  in  his  or 
her  proper  place,  as  definite  as  if  the  occurrence  were 
to-day.  My  mother  and  father,  my  elder  sister  and  a 
younger  one,  a  baby  brother,  my  grandmother,  and  a 
hired  girl.  It  was  the  democratic  custom  in  that  section 
and  time  for  the  hired  girl  to  serve  the  food  in  bulk  and 
then  sit  with  the  family  at  the  table.  My  father, 
refusing  to  accept  my  message,  rushed  to  the  street.  I 


see  the  terror  on  my  mother's  face  and  the  tragic  in- 
tensity of  grandmother.  I  am  pressed  with  questions. 
I  remember  my  inadequate  replies,  and  then  my  father 
coming  back,  his  face  grown  strangely  older.  As  the 
women  look  at  him  he  says,  "Wilkes  Booth " 

"Shot  Lincoln?" 


As  the  women  get  this  confirmation  my  mother  sobs 
with  her  head  upon  the  table;  grandmother,  erect,  is 
making  short  dramatic  denunciations,  of  which  I  have 
forgotten  all  except  their  vehemence.  Not  only  that 
day  but  an  ensuing  period  of  dislocation  and  excitement 
followed;  a  period  recalled  as  interminable  compared 
to  the  swift  actions  that  the  records  show.  During  that 
crowded  time  every  word  of  the  reports  in  every  paper 
was  read  aloud  and  discussed;  every  rumor  too.  The 
subject  occupied  the  talk  and  filled  all  minds  through 
every  silence.  The  apprehension  and  arrest  of  conspira- 
tors; the  pursuit  and  killing  of  Booth;  the  arrangements 
for  the  dead  President's  funeral;  the  trial  of  persons 
charged  with  complicity  in  his  assassination;  bitter  divi- 
sion on  the  question  of  the  guilt  of  Mrs.  Surratt,  and 
upon  the  right  at  all  to  hang  a  woman;  suspicions  that 
arose  and  were  increased  concerning  Vice-President  John- 
son's possible  knowledge  of  or  blindness  to  the  plot  ban- 
ished all  unrelated  topics.  Letters  came,  neighbors  ran 
in  and  out  to  carry  or  to  match  their  news.  Persons  here- 
tofore uncertain  as  to  policies  took  a  prompt  stand  in 
condemnation  of  the  deed.  Many  Southern  sympathizers 
honestly  arranged  themselves  with  the  Northerners; 
some  sullen  ones  closed  their  blinds  and  kept  out  of  view. 
The  excitement  extended  to  the  children;  and  picture 
papers  were  cut  out,  pasted  into  peep  shows  and  reeled 
off  in  soap-boxes,  back-lighted  by  bits  of  candles. 


The  death  of  Lincoln  came  with  crushing  force  to  every 
household  in  the  North.  To  these  ours  was  an  exception 
only  in  the  added  poignancy  given  by  our  familiarity 
with  the  assassin's  name  and  looks  and  my  father's  rec- 
ollections of  a  recent  playful  companionship.  Booth's 
photographs  were  brought  out,  discussed  in  horror  and 
then  put  away  and  avoided.  In  the  next  year  or  two, 
through  the  willing  agency  of  secesh  playmates,  I  quietly 
gave  these  pictures  to  other  parents  who  prized  and  kept 

When  Lincoln's  funeral  was  held  at  Springfield  there 
was  a  ceremony  in  St.  Louis,  with  a  stately  representative 
catafalque  set  in  the  rotunda  of  the  classical  courthouse, 
where  thousands  with  bowed  head  and  reverent  step 
passed  to  express  openly  their  sorrow.  I  was  in  that 
line,  and  though  no  doubt  truthfully  informed  at  the 
time,  for  years  I  retained  the  belief  that  Lincoln's  body 
had  been  under  those  flowers  and  flags.  There  must 
have  been  many  who  thought  the  same. 



Soon  after  that  time  my  father  was  planning  and  sur- 
veying what  was  called  the  St.  Louis  and  Glencoe  Rail- 
road. There  was  an  onyx  quarry  at  one  end  of  it — the 
other  end,  I  think.  Grandmother  called  it  a  mare's-nest, 
which  seems  to  be  bad  rating  for  a  new  railroad,  and 
father  suffered  in  the  enterprise  in  other  ways.  He  had 
to  go  to  New  York  about  bonds  and  money,  and  took 
me  with  him  to  Brooklyn,  where  his  sisters  lived.  On 
that  visit  I  learned  that  father  himself  had  a  maternal 
grandmother,  who  before  her  marriage  had  been  a  Miss 
La  Farge.  It  required  half  a  day  to  get  from  Brooklyn 
by  ferry-boat  to  New  York  and  by  Broadway  stage  to 
her  house  in  a  thinly  settled  district  near  Central  Park 
in  the  East  Sixties.  She  spoke  with  a  French  accent — 
difficult  for  me  to  understand.  The  only  topic  on  which 
we  got  earnestly  together  was  the  Civil  War — grand- 
mothers seemed  to  be  unanimous  on  that — but  she  was 
a  dark  and  very  old  lady  and  in  no  wise  comparable  to 
my  grandmother.  I  felt  sorry  for  father,  but  was  careful 
never  to  say  anything  about  her  that  hurt  his  feelings. 

We  went  back  to  St.  Louis.  An  older  railroad  man, 
the  family  said,  named  Colonel  Tom  McKissock,  had 
euchered  father  out  of  the  Glencoe  Railroad,  and  in  our 
historic  apportionments  McKissock  joined  Buchanan. 

There  was  in  those  days  a  touch  of  economical  manage- 
ment by  my  mother  that  will  appeal  to  two  classes  of 
readers.  The  first  it  will  impress  with  mild  astonishment; 
and  the  second,  millions  in  number,  if  the  statement 


A  PAGE  BOY  17 

should  reach  them,  it  will  strike  familiarly.  The  flour 
for  the  baking  came  in  coarse  cotton  sacks.  These  sacks 
when  empty  and  with  their  seams  ripped  open  washed 
up  into  serviceable  domestic  cloth.  For  the  five  chil- 
dren in  our  household  in  1868  this  cloth  was  available 
as  nightgowns.  Sometimes  the  brand  of  the  flour  sten- 
ciled into  the  bag  was  indelible.  One  dealer,  dyeing  for 
immortality,  identified  his  product  by  a  pardonable  pun 
which  had  for  my  parents  a  third  application,  gratifying 
though  not  prophetic,  as  they  watched  me  bundle  into 
bed  with  The  Flower  of  the  Family  blazoned  on  the 
southern  exposure  of  my  gabardine. 

In  similar  ways  and  by  like  episodes  my  neighborhood 
horizon  widened  and  took  on  state  and  national  dimen- 
sions. Among  father's  optimistic  friends  was  a  man 
named  Cavanaugh,  with  whiskers  and  blue  eyes  and  a 
broad  broken  nose.  Mr.  Cavanaugh  never  put  water  in 
his  whiskey,  as  General  Frank  P.  Blair  and  father  did 
while  conversing  at  the  Planter's  House  bar,  but  drank 
it  with  a  nervous  toss  and  considerable  display  of  teeth 
under  his  wet  mustache  and  then  thoughtfully  went 
"Ha"  with  a  sandpaper  exhaust. 

Then  and  again,  years  and  other  years  afterward, 
standing  at  the  same  bar,  I  tried  to  dramatize  for  my 
own  mind's  eye  the  story  of  General  Frank  P.  Blair, 
smiling  and  unarmed,  saying,  oh,  so  confidentially,  to 
another  man  he  had  never  met  before:  "Are  you  Billy 
Ryder?  Well,  I'm  told  you  say  you  will  kill  me  on  sight. 
My  name  is  Frank  P.  Blair,  Mr.  Ryder." 

"Right  where  we're  standing,"  Cavanaugh  explains, 
and  Mr.  Blair  laughs  it  off  and  says  something  amusing 
about  a  bluff. 

Billy  Ryder  was  a  political  Monk  Eastman.     As  a 


boy  and  man  I  heard  him  make  fiery  speeches  in  Gaelic 
to  his  compatriots  from  the  court-house  steps,  but  I  al- 
ways remembered  Mr.  Cavanaugh's  story  to  my  father 
as  I  stood  listening,  nine  years  of  age.  Even  at  sixty- 
four  I  like  it. 

My  father  was  a  fine  man  with  a  great  brain,  and  now 
that  he  is  gone  I  would  say  nothing  of  him  that  could 
prejudice  a  reader  against  him,  but  he  always  treated 
me  as  an  equal.  I  knew  his  friends  man  fashion.  They 
were  many  and  important,  and  such  informing  anecdotes 
as  the  one  just  related  he  always  told  me  in  order  that 
I  might  rightly  measure  men.  On  all  public  questions 
there  was  always  also  grandmother,  sometimes  mistaken 
but  never  in  doubt,  and  from  the  time  I  was  eligible  at 
six  years  of  age  until  the  time  I  was  indigent  at  twelve, 
I  had  an  almost  uninterrupted  attendance  at  regular 
sessions  of  the  St.  Louis  grammar-schools,  including  at 
that  period  their  compulsory  study  of  German.  When 
I  finished  I  had  a  card  publicly  given  me  for  my  recita- 
tion of  Marco  Bozzaris.  The  scene  is  indelible.  I  had 
walked  to  the  teacher's  platform,  as  was  then  uniformly 
required,  on  tiptoe;  we  thought  in  order  that  our  shoes 
should  not  squeak  too  much,  but,  as  a  matter  of  fact, 
to  train  us  against  falling  arches.  I  see  my  teacher  now, 
the  bunch  of  lilacs  on  her  desk  and  just  behind  her  the 
Tropic  of  Capricorn.  It  had  been  there  all  winter,  but 
never  so  plain  as  on  that  fragrant  morning  in  the  spring 
of  1868,  with  the  girls  in  white  and  ribbons,  and  through 
the  open  windows  trees  and  grass  and  cowbells,  and  be- 
yond the  sky-line  of  a  great  round  world  turning  upon 
its  own  axis  once  in  every  twenty-four  hours,  except  in 
February,  which  has  twenty-nine.  The  safety  of  our 
republic  rests  upon  our  public  schools. 

A  PAGE  BOY  19 

During  this  early  period  we  lived  not  always  in  the 
same  house.  Places  were  rented,  and  like  many  uneasy 
families  of  that  time  we  occasionally  removed.  Amongst 
our  plunder  there  were  a  few  book-shelves  well  furnished 
and  some  other  volumes  with  bindings  too  dilapidated 
to  be  shown.  These  cripples  drifted  to  the  garret,  where 
I  used  to  run  across  them  on  holidays.  Three  of  these 
old  books  I  studied  with  keen  interest.  One  was  Blair's 
"Rhetoric";  a  second  was  Jefferson's  "Manual  on  Parlia- 
mentary Law,"  which  had  evidently  been  useful  to  father 
at  different  times;  a  third  was  a  small  copy  of  Hardee's 
"Military  Tactics." 

About  this  time  the  remittances  of  new  money  from 
Washington  City  began  to  get  irregular  and  now  and 
then  to  lack  a  few  sheets  of  the  stipulated  limit,  but  to 
be  accompanied  by  peace-offerings  of  useless  merchandise, 
stuff  that  the  sender  had  probably  got  at  little  cost  from 
a  War  Department  that  was  reforming.  In  one  ship- 
ment of  that  kind  there  came  a  pasteboard  box  contain- 
ing a  gross  or  more  of  officers'  epaulets  in  gold  and  silver 
on  different  colored  cloths,  ready  to  be  sewed  on  the 
shoulders  of  soldier  coats.  Nobody  wanted  these  things 
apparently,  not  even  grandmother,  and  they  fell  to  me. 
Nothing  would  have  been  more  acceptable  except  per- 
haps a  consignment  of  Indian  war  bonnets.  I  distributed 
them  among  my  comrades,  and  with  the  help  of  the  Har- 
dee  "Tactics"  organized  two  or  three  squads,  fairly  pro- 
ficient in  the  manual,  with  wooden  guns,  but  composed 
entirely  of  officers  from  brigadier-generals  to  captains. 
When  manoeuvring  in  the  streets  and  encouraged  by  vet- 
erans at  the  corner  grocery  we  must  have  looked  like  a 
miniature  and  migratory  general  staff. 

This  would  be  too  trivial  to  record  were  it  not  for  the 


fact  that  it  was  at  a  time  when  two  national  conventions 
had  made  their  nominations.  With  the  entire  country 
still  wrought  up  and  resentful  over  the  assassination  of 
Lincoln,  the  Republican  Party  took  no  chances  on  the 
character  of  its  candidate,  and  General  Ulysses  S.  Grant 
was  the  nominee.  His  Democratic  opponent,  Governor 
Horatio  Seymour,  of  New  York,  had  smirched  his  record 
a  little  by  addressing  an  audience  of  draft  rioters  in  New 
York  in  a  pacificatory  speech  as  "My  friends." 

To  offset  the  doubts  which  that  phrase  inspired,  the 
Democratic  convention  gave  Seymour  as  his  running 
mate  that  gallant  Democrat  of  undoubted  loyalty  of 
whom  I  have  already  spoken,  General  Francis  P.  Blair. 
My  father  was  so  fond  of  Blair  that,  partisan  as  he  was, 
it  hurt  him  to  oppose  him  in  the  local  districts,  but  he 
vigorously  did  so.  I  was  by  this  time  taking  a  wider 
interest  in  politics  and  on  higher  grounds  than  those  which 
I  held  in  the  Bell  and  Everett  campaign.  But  still  the 
theatrical  features  of  the  contest  were  the  ones  that  in* 
terested  me  most. 

In  the  torchlight  processions  the  marching  voters,  be- 
sides their  soldier  caps  and  capes,  wore  little  aprons,  be- 
cause their  candidate,  U.  S.  Grant,  when  a  boy,  had 
worked  in  his  father's  yards  as  a  tanner.  More  than  in 
any  other  district  that  I  have  ever  observed,  and  more 
than  in  any  other  campaign,  the  juniors  took  an  interest 
in  this  one,  doubtless  because  of  the  contentious  atmos- 
phere in  which  they  had  all  been  raised.  The  men  en- 
couraged them  and  there  were  many  marching  clubs  of 
boys.  My  organization  of  shoulder  straps  was  active 
two  or  three  nights  in  the  week  at  the  tail  end  of  the  tan- 
ners' procession. 

It  is  probable  that  neither  Seymour  nor  Blair,  experi- 

A  PAGE  BOY  21 

enced  politicians  as  they  were,  had  much  hope  of  elec- 
tion. At  any  rate,  upon  many  occasions  in  which  I  saw 
him  soon  after  the  decision,  I  could  discover  nothing 
crestfallen  about  our  Missouri  member  in  particular,  nor 
did  he  carry  any  animosity  against  the  comrades  who 
had  remained  loyal  to  the  commander  in  chief  rather 
than  support  their  local  favorite.  Blair  and  my  father 
were  warm  friends  as  ever,  and  Blair  himself  was  in- 
fluential in  having  me  appointed  a  page  in  the  Missouri 
legislature  the  following  session,  at  which  time  I  was 
eleven  years  old. 

There  were  five  page  boys  in  the  Missouri  House  of 
Representatives  at  that  time.  They  were  appointed  by 
the  clerk,  and  there  was  considerable  political  compe- 
tition for  the  places.  As  the  boys  were  paid  ninety  dol- 
lars a  month,  the  appointments  came  under  the  head  of 
patronage.  There  were  plenty  of  competent  lads  in  Jef- 
ferson City  who  would  have  been  glad  to  get  the  work 
at  twenty  dollars  a  month,  but  under  the  spoils  system 
the  clerk  endeavored  to  distribute  the  appointments 
through  different  sections  of  the  State.  The  salary  was 
fixed  upon  the  knowledge  that  the  boys  would  be  under 
considerable  expense  away  from  their  homes,  and  per- 
haps the  committee  on  appropriations  justified  the 
amount  also  under  the  theory  that  the  work  was  educa- 
tional and  to  a  boy  the  opportunity  would  be  a  kind  of 

Any  man  who  can  remember  working  as  a  page  boy 
in  any  legislative  body  will  approve  this  theory.  Every 
session  was  punctuated  by  points  of  order  from  the  mem- 
bers and  rulings  by  the  chair,  and  perhaps  because  their 
attention  to  these  contests  was  not  so  divided  as  that 
of  the  members,  the  boys  were  better  average  parliamen- 


tarians  than  90  per  cent  of  the  legislators  themselves. 
Besides  the  ninety  dollars,  each  boy  got  one  hundred 
three-cent  postage  stamps  every  month,  a  bunch  of  lead- 
pencils,  a  supply  of  quill  pens  such  as  a  theatre  property 
man  still  provides  for  Richelieu,  and  a  pocket-knife  to 
keep  these  pens  in  order.  The  same  allotment  was  made 
to  every  official  employee  and  to  every  member.  In 
excess  of  this  the  members  received  a  supply  of  black 
sand,  for  which  a  box  sat  on  each  desk.  Most  of  the 
members  preferred  blotting-paper  to  the  use  of  the  sand 
boxes,  but  as  blotting-paper  was  a  novelty  some  of  the 
old  men  shook  sand  on  to  their  wet  letters  and  then  shook 
most  of  it  back  again  into  the  perforated  lignum-vitae 
boxes.  I  remember  the  page  boys  laughing  over  an  edi- 
torial comment  of  one  of  the  St.  Louis  papers  concern- 
ing the  city's  oldest  representative  then  in  the  house,  a 
certain  erratic  Doctor  Smythe.  The  paragraph  said: 

Doctor  Smythe  writes  his  letters  with  a  lead-pencil  and  uses  the 
blotting-paper,  which  he  says  is  much  superior  to  the  old  sand. 

Our  duties  as  page  boys  were  to  carry  a  bill  or  a  reso- 
lution from  the  member  who  introduced  it  to  the  desk 
of  the  clerk  who  was  to  read  it  aloud;  to  take  messages 
from  one  member  to  another  or  to  go  to  the  other  end 
of  the  building  on  some  errand  to  the  senate;  or  to  one 
of  the  departments  under  the  same  roof.  We  were  sel- 
dom sent  outside  of  the  capitol.  We  were  not  always 
busy  and  our  leisure  naturally  fell  when  the  members 
themselves  were  most  engrossed;  that  is  to  say,  when 
something  of  real  interest  was  proceeding  in  the  house. 

There  were  generally  two  sides  to  every  question  that 
came  up,  and  it  would  be  difficult  to  conceive  of  any 
method  more  instructive  than  that  with  which  the  boys 

A  PAGE  BOY  23 

constantly  were  in  contact.  The  measures  were  not  al- 
ways of  equal  importance;  there  were  times  of  comedy 
and  even  of  horse-play.  Under  each  desk  at  that  time 
there  was  a  large  individual  cast-iron  cuspidor  with  a 
hinged  cover  of  a  Renaissance  pattern.  If  a  man  by 
accident  slipped  his  toe  under  one  of  these  heavy  covers, 
allowing  the  cover  to  fall  back  on  the  basin,  it  made  a 
noise  as  loud  as  a  stove  lid  treated  in  the  same  way. 
Sometimes  when  a  member  strictly  within  his  rights  was 
speaking  beyond  the  patience  of  his  hearers  these  acci- 
dents occurred,  and  were  repeated  with  increasing  fre- 
quency, until  the  din  reduced  his  oratory  to  pantomime. 
There  were  more  than  one  editorial  protest  throughout 
the  State  against  this  system  of  cloture,  and  I  remember 
reading  these  protests  as  late  as  the  middle  eighties;  but 
I  used  the  device  as  a  comic  episode  in  a  play  some 
twenty  years  ago  and  was  roundly  denounced  by  a  Mis- 
souri statesman  for  misrepresentation. 

Another  example  of  a  kind  of  humorous  relief  was 
furnished  when  a  desk  neighbor  of  the  Doctor  Smythe 
above  mentioned  got  from  his  optician  duplicate  pairs 
of  Smythe's  spectacles.  In  the  heat  of  a  debate  the  old 
doctor  had  a  way  of  reading  from  some  authority  and 
then,  as  he  spoke  to  the  question,  pushing  his  glasses  to 
the  top  of  his  head.  On  the  occasion  in  mind,  as  the 
doctor  finished  one  reading,  the  member  slipped  his  sec- 
ond pair  on  the  desk  in  front  of  him.  The  doctor  spoke 
a  moment  and,  during  his  rest,  again  mechanically  ad- 
justed this  second  pair  of  glasses,  read  his  second  quo- 
tation and  pushed  the  second  pair  of  spectacles  up  to 
the  first.  The  effect  and  his  own  astonishment  caused 
an  uproar  and  made  a  serious  contribution  ridiculous 
and  ineffective. 


That  winter  of  '68  in  the  Missouri  legislature,  of 
which  John  D.  Orrick  was  speaker,  is  notable  for  three 
events:  The  Fifteenth  Amendment,  giving  the  vote  to 
the  negro,  was  adopted;  Miss  Phoebe  Couzins,  a  pretty 
girl,  then  in  her  twenties,  just  graduated  as  a  lawyer, 
addressed  a  joint  session  upon  the  question  of  female 
suffrage;  and  Carl  Schurz,  at  the  end  of  a  spirited  joint 
debate,  was  elected  to  the  United  States  Senate. 

Miss  Couzins  made  a  pretty  picture  as  she  finished 
her  address  to  the  legislators,  and  with  a  graceful  wave 
of  a  white-gloved  hand  closed  by  saying,  "Let  it  be 
flashed  across  the  continent  that  Missouri  leads  the  van, 
and  the  nation  must  follow." 

In  Broadway  parlance  of  to-day  that  would  be  called 
hokum,  but  at  that  time  every  listener,  to  use  another 
phrase,  ate  it  up.  Opinion  on  the  policy  was  divided, 
but  nobody  doubted  Missouri's  ability  to  lead  the  van. 

Phoebe  Couzins,  the  first  woman  to  hold  a  Federal 
executive  appointment,  served  during  President  Arthur's 
administration  as  deputy  for  her  father,  who  was  United 
States  marshal  for  the  Missouri  district,  and  upon 
Major  Couzins'  death  the  President  appointed  her  to 
the  office.  She  was  an  earnest  suffrage  advocate  for 
years,  and  an  ardent  prohibitionist,  but  before  her  death 
in  1913  her  accumulated  experience,  and  it  may  be  her 
wisdom,  led  her  to  oppose  both  measures. 

Carl  Schurz  electrified  his  hearers.  He  then  had  been 
only  sixteen  years  in  America,  during  which  time  he  had 
rallied  his  German-American  fellow  citizens  to  the  sup- 
port of  abolition,  had  served  with  distinction  through 
the  Civil  War,  had  acquired  a  perfect  mastery  of  the 
English  language,  and  as  he  said  to  his  fiery  little  op- 
ponent in  the  debate,  Senator  C.  D.  Drake,  who  chal- 

A  PAGE  BOY  25 

lenged  him  on  some  point,  "had  gained  a  very  danger- 
ous knowledge  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States." 

The  Schurz-Drake  debates  were  held  at  night,  with 
the  members  of  the  senate  crowded  into  the  larger  house 
and  the  lobby  holding  on  its  full  benches  more  than  one 
distinguished  man  who  thought  the  lightning  might 
strike  him.  I  remember  first  seeing  at  that  time  the 
romantic-looking  David  P.  Dyer,  the  scholarly  John  F. 
Benjamin,  and  ex-Senator  John  B.  Henderson,  who  be- 
cause of  his  vote  in  the  United  States  Senate  against  the 
impeachment  of  Andrew  Johnson  was  no  longer  accept- 
able to  his  Missouri  constituency  as  United  States  sena- 
tor. Mr.  Henderson  was  the  author  of  the  Thirteenth 
Amendment,  which  in  regular  form  made  Lincoln's  pro- 
claimed emancipation  part  of  the  Constitution.  At  one 
stage  of  the  proceedings  in  these  joint  debates,  in  re- 
sponse to  many  calls  for  an  expression,  Henderson,  in- 
stead of  taking  the  speaker's  rostrum  as  Drake  and 
Schurz  had  done,  arose  modestly  from  a  chair  well  back 
in  the  chamber,  and  beginning  to  speak  in  playful  fashion 
moved  with  much  charm  and  persuasiveness  to  such 
dangerous  ground  that  the  partisans  of  the  more  promi- 
nent candidates  broke  in  upon  his  address. 

The  page  boys*  hours  were  about  nine  to  four.  We 
liked  to  sit  up  late  occasionally  but  not  repeatedly,  and 
in  front  of  the  Wagner  House,  where  I  roomed  with  an- 
other boy,  the  local  statesmen,  when  the  weather  per- 
mitted, had  a  convention  fashion  of  holding  group  con- 
sultations on  the  sidewalk.  My  first  active  service  as 
a  member  of  the  Vigilantes  grew  out  of  that.  Our  or- 
ganization was  not  extensive,  containing,  in  fact,  only 
this  other  boy  of  about  my  own  age,  Robert  H.  Cornell, 
now  a  prominent  citizen  of  St.  Louis,  and  myself. 


To  break  up  the  sidewalk  meetings  Cornell  suggested 
an  effective  method.  We  brought  home  with  us  from 
the  capitol  newspapers  which  soon  accumulated  in  bulk, 
and  when  soaked  in  our  water-pitcher  and  reduced  to 
mash  we  compressed  moderately  into  missiles  of  the  size 
of  a  football.  Our  rooms  were  on  the  top  floor  of  this 
five-story  hotel.  At  what  seemed  the  proper  hour  for  a 
curfew  Bob  would  lean  from  one  window  and  I  from  an- 
other and  at  a  concerted  signal  intrust  these  heavy  and 
mushy  bundles  to  that  power  described  in  the  Newtonian 
law.  Under  favorable  conditions  one  of  them  would 
cover  an  entire  committee  meeting.  We  had  to  judge 
the  effect  of  our  attack  only  by  what  we  heard,  as  by 
the  time  these  things  had  travelled  their  distance  we 
were  back  in  bed.  It  was  a  disgraceful  and  lawless  pro- 
cedure and  we  both  deserved  the  house  of  correction  at 
least,  but  now  that  I  tell  of  it  under  the  protection  of 
the  statute  of  limitations,  and  think  of  the  frequent  pro- 
tests against  the  destruction  of  our  national  forests,  I 
am  not  sure  that  any  other  equal  amount  of  paper  pulp 
has  finally  performed  more  useful  service. 

Another  source  of  annoyance  on  these  open-window 
nights  was  a  card-room  behind  a  saloon  extending  at 
right  angles  to  the  rear  wall  of  the  Wagner  Hotel.  We 
couldn't  reach  or  appeal  to  these  offenders  with  the  lit- 
erary matter  that  was  so  useful  in  front  of  the  house,  but 
the  Wagner  Hotel  dining-room  was  separated  from  its 
supply  department  only  by  a  wooden  partition  eight 
feet  high.  As  Cornell  was  the  lighter  of  us  boys,  I  used 
to  boost  him  over  this  partition  when  the  help  had  re- 
tired, and  from  the  inside,  standing  on  one  of  the  shelves, 
he  would  procure  and  pass  back  a  hatful  of  raw  eggs. 
At  the  rear  of  the  hotel  on  every  story,  there  was  a 
Southern  gallery  or  porch. 

A  PAGE  BOY  27 

The  one  on  our  floor  commanded  the  tables  nearest 
the  door  of  the  card-room  just  mentioned. 

Oliver  Herford  once  answered  a  lady  who  asked  him 
if  he  had  any  one  unsatisfied  ambition  in  life  by  saying 
that  he  had  always  wanted  to  throw  a  raw  egg  into  an 
electric  fan.  I  have  never  seen  that  done,  but  I  am  sure 
that  whatever  would  be  lost  in  mechanical  regularity 
from  that  reaction  is  fully  compensated  by  the  human 
interest  that  can  be  elicited  by  two  raw  eggs  suddenly 
exploded  in  a  pinochle  foursome.  Let  me  say  to  any 
immature  readers  that  this  was  very  reprehensible  con- 
duct, and  that  on  my  part  there  has  been  complete  ref- 

I  cannot  speak  so  hopefully  of  Cornell,  because  when 
I  last  saw  him  in  1917  he  was  trying  to  sell  real  estate. 

The  year  before  this  one  at  Jefferson  City  parts  of 
Kansas  and  a  part  of  Missouri  had  been  seriously  over- 
run by  a  plague  of  grasshoppers.  The  United  States 
Government  had  sent  a  distinguished  entomologist  by 
the  name  of  Riley  to  study  the  conditions.  I  don't  know 
what  Mr.  Riley  was  recommending  to  the  legislature, 
but  at  the  Wagner  House  dinner-table,  where  for  a  few 
days  he  had  a  seat  next  to  mine,  he  advocated  eating  the 
grasshoppers.  He  used  to  bring  to  the  table  a  paper- 
bag,  holding  about  a  quart  of  them,  roasted  and  but- 
tered. These  he  put  on  a  platter  and  was  just  as  un- 
selfish with  them  as  a  dog  is  with  fleas.  Very  few  of  his 
neighbors  joined  him  in  their  consumption.  I  ate  two 
or  three  and  found  that  they  tasted  not  unlike  peanuts. 

As  I  try  now  to  recall  the  impelling  motive  of  this 
courageous  deed  on  my  part  I  think  it  was  a  combination 
of  curiosity,  a  wish  to  please  Mr.  Riley,  a  desire  to  re- 
port the  occurrence  at  home,  where  it  did  make  a  sensa- 


tion,  and  also  my  recollection  of  the  Sunday-school  verses 
which  I  used  to  recite  about  John  the  Baptist's  liking 
for  them.  Perhaps  it  was  the  absence  of  wild  honey  at 
our  table  that  accounts  for  my  lack  of  sustained  enthu- 

The  old  capitol  building  of  which  I  write  was  destroyed 
by  fire  in  February,  191 1.  It  was  of  the  dome-and-wings 
type,  like  the  National  Capitol,  and  stood  a  few  hun- 
dred feet  nearer  to  the  river  than  its  handsome  successor, 
and  on  a  bluff.  The  muddy  Missouri  rolled  almost  be- 
neath, and  wild  woods  and  bushes  were  on  the  opposite 
bank,  where  we  looked  for  Indians  and  sometimes  saw 
them,  but  disappointingly  reconciled  and  orderly.  On 
our  bank  one  day  my  father,  who  paid  us  a  visit  that 
session  and  from  whom  until  his  death  I  was  always  get- 
ting some  new  glimpse  of  a  varied  experience,  pointed 
out  to  me,  on  the  Missouri  Pacific  track  below,  the  spot 
where  in  1861  an  engine  and  baggage-car  had  stopped 
after  a  record  run  from  St.  Louis  to  unload  some  fifty 
self-organized  patriots  who  came  with  revolvers  and 
clambered  up  the  bank  Indian  fashion  just  as  Governor 
Claiborne  Jackson  and  a  majority  of  the  legislators,  who 
were  trying  to  pass  an  ordinance  of  secession  over  a  fili- 
buster of  a  loyal  minority,  took  to  their  heels  and  Mis- 
souri stayed  in  the  Union.  Father  was  one  of  that  car- 

My  father  introduced  me  to  the  Honorable  Erastus 
Wells,  then  a  congressman  from  a  St.  Louis  district.  Mr. 
Wells  had  some  boys  himself.  One  of  them,  RoIIa  Wells, 
when  he  grew  up,  became  mayor  of  St.  Louis. 

If  a  man  likes  your  dog  heartily  he  probably  owns  one. 
A  father  of  two  boys  is  an  easy  acquaintance  for  some 
other's  boy.  I  don't  think  I  was  especially  forward,  but 

A  PAGE  BOY  29 

after  two  or  three  talks  with  Erastus  Wells  he  had  prom- 
ised me  to  do  what  he  could  to  get  me  a  pageship  at 
Washington.  He  sicked  me  onto  D.  P.  Dyer  and  John  F. 
Benjamin,  who  were  also  visiting  Jefferson  City,  and  told 
them  I  was  Tom's  boy.  As  a  result  all  of  the  nine  con- 
gressmen from  Missouri  signed  my  application  for  the 



A  powerful  publisher  in  Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania, 
when  he  knew  I  planned  to  write  these  recollections, 
sent  a  word  of  caution  to  me  by  a  friend.  He  didn't 
come  himself.  A  rash  or  inexperienced  or  undiplomatic 
publisher,  seeing  a  sign,  "Angels  Wanted,"  might  have 
rushed  in;  but  knowing  that  Napoleon  even  in  his  high- 
est power  sent  M.  de  Narbonne  to  represent  him  at 
Vienna,  this  prudent  printer,  moving  by  indirection,  said 
to  his  ambassador,  "Tell  Thomas  to  raise  a  mustache  in 
his  story  as  soon  as  possible."  By  which  he  meant,  get 
through  with  his  boyish  memories  briefly. 

The  Autocrat  of  the  Breakfast-Table,  one  morning  in 
1858,  said  to  his  fellow  boarders:  "My  hand  trembles 
when  I  offer  you  this.  Many  times  I  have  come  bearing 
flowers  such  as  my  garden  grew;  but  now  I  offer  you 
this  poor,  brown,  homely  growth;  you  may  cast  it  away 
as  worthless.  And  yet — and  yet  it  is  something  better 
than  flowers;  it  is  a  seed-capsule.  Many  a  gardener  will 
cut  you  a  bouquet  of  his  choicest  blossoms  for  small  fee, 
but  he  does  not  love  to  let  the  seeds  of  his  rarest  varieties 
go  out  of  his  hands.  You  don't  remember  the  rosy 
pudency  of  sensitive  children.  The  first  instinctive 
movement  of  the  little  creatures  is  to  make  a  cache,  and 
bury  in  it  beliefs,  doubts,  dreams,  hopes,  and  terrors.  I 
am  uncovering  one  of  these  caches" 

Some  day  when  my  Philadelphia  friend  outgrows  his 
timidity  he  and  I  will  meet,  and  not  chiding  him  openly 



for  this  threatened  surrender  to  the  material  rush  of  his 
generation  and  his  calling,  I  shall  say:  "Is  your  great 
paper,  founded  by  a  great,  unhurried  American  phi- 
losopher, read  principally  in  subways  and  on  commuta- 
tion trains  or  in  simple  households  after  nightfall,  with 
mother  and  the  children  near  the  lamps?  And  what 
are  the  passwords  to  those  family  groups?"  I  shall  show 
him  those  breakfast-table  lines  of  Doctor  Holmes  and 
remind  him  also  of  some  religionist  who  somewhere  said 
to  somebody  in  what  must  have  been  a  mood  and  mo- 
ment of  great  intimacy,  "Give  us  the  children  before 
they  are  seven  and  you  may  preach  what  you  will  to  the 
adults."  Give  us  the  sensitive  and  malleable  retentive 
soul  tissue  when  it  is  tender  and  impressionable  and  later 
try  what  intellectual  veneer  and  overlay  you  like. 

I  shall  remind  him  of  weary  little  Dick  Whittington 
day-dreaming  on  the  wayside  boulder  and  listening  to 
the  distant  London  bells;  remind  him  of  the  German 
manikin  Diogenes  Teufelsdrockh  in  the  sunset  with  his 
porringer  on  the  coping  of  the  orchard  wall  at  Entepfuhl. 
I  shall  say:  "Recall  to  your  mind  Sir  John  Millais'  can- 
vas, famous  by  the  personal  question  of  those  enter- 
prising soap-makers,  showing  the  English  boy  on  the 
cottage  doorstep  in  rapt  wonderment  at  his  iridescent 
bubbles."  I  shall  say:  "Think  of  the  face  of  Richter's 
Neapolitan  Boy — of  the  unutterable  poetry  in  the  eyes 
of  the  winged  youth  between  the  supporting  knees  of 
Dore's  grim-sculptured  Fate;  think  of  Eli's  little  kneel- 
ing Hebrew  protege  listening  to  answer,  *  Speak,  Lord, 
for  thy  servant  heareth/  '  And  I  shall  "say:  "Except 
for  your  inhibiting  honk  about  a  mustache  I  would  have 
opened  my  heart  to  that  subscribing  brood  around  the 
family  lamp.  I  would  have  given  the  high  sign  of 


brotherhood  to  those  boys  and  girls  in  the  prairie  states 
who  know  the  pungent  blend  of  dew  and  tomato-vines, 
and  who  understand  better  than  the  grown-ups  the  cry 
of  Kipling's  Australian  in  that  South  African  fight: 

"And  through  the  crack  and  the  stink  of  the  cordite, 

(Ah,  Christ !    My  country  again !) 
The  smell  of  the  wattle  by  Lichtenberg, 
Riding  in,  in  the  rain!" 

I  would  have  told  them  how  my  dad,  who  hadn't  wept 
through  two  important  wars,  explained  his  wet  eyes  to 
me  when  for  the  first  time  after  thirty  years  he  inhaled 
the  salty  odor  of  low  tide  as  we  crossed  the  Hudson  at 
dusk  in  a  ferry-boat.  But  you  can't  explain  a  subtle 
thing  like  that  to  a  man  selling  safety  razors.  He 
wouldn't  believe  that  a  boy  four  blocks  from  the  Missis- 
sippi River  on  a  roped  bed  with  no  mosquito  bar  in  a 
gable  attic  could  tell  at  midnight  and  just  by  the  sound 
of  her  long  melancholy  whistle  whether  an  upriver  packet 
coming  in  was  the  Belle  of  Alton  or  the  Red  Wing  or  the 

But  I  wanted  to  tell  those  children  about  those  float- 
ing side-wheeled  palaces  and  other  finer  ones  from  the 
Southern  river  routes  tied  up  to  the  levee  so  closely  that 
only  their  bows  could  nose  in  with  their  gangplanks — 
the  Natchez,  the  Robert  E.  Lee,  the  Grand  Republic  and 
scores  of  others,  all  vanished  now  from  that  neglected 
shore,  and  living  only  in  melodrama  and  romance;  in 
such  stories  as  Mark  Twain's  and  George  Cable's;  in 
the  hearts  of  grandmothers  who  can  show  you  daguerreo- 
types of  frills  and  flounces;  and  in  the  memories  of  tired 
business  men  voodooed  by  efficiency  and  the  income 
tax.  I  wanted  to  tell  them  of  my  grandmother's  story 


that  is  good  enough  for  a  play  about  Colonel  Jim  Bowie, 
who  got  a  big  steel  file  from  the  engineer  on  the  boiler 
deck  and  ground  it  into  a  knife  with  which  he  killed  the 
other  man  in  a  duel  on  an  island  where  the  boat  stopped 
to  let  them  fight  it  out;  a  bigger  knife  than  Buffalo  Bill 
had  in  his  duel  when  he  killed  that  Indian  chief,  while 
both  their  fighting  crowds  looked  on —  A  good  friend 
of  mine  when  I  got  to  be  a  man.  I  hope  I  don't  forget 
to  speak  of  Buffalo  Bill  later. 

In  the  early  winter  of  1870  I  left  St.  Louis  for  Wash- 
ington City,  after  getting  a  letter  about  it  from  Mr. 
Wells.  I  had  a  funny  little  sole-leather  trunk  of  anti- 
quated pattern,  of  which  I  was  told  to  take  good  care, 
as  it  had  held  father's  luggage  when  he  went  from  Chi- 
cago by  the  Fox,  Illinois  and  Rock  rivers  with  a  group 
of  pioneers  who  founded  Winona,  Minnesota.  At  the 
O.  &  M.  depot  in  East  St.  Louis  father  gave  me  into  the 
care  of  General  Blair  and  his  friend,  Mr.  Cavanaugh, 
who  were  going  on  the  same  train.  I  am  not  sure 
of  Mr.  Cavanaugh's  business  or  his  exact  relation  to 
General  Blair,  but  I  have  recently  seen  something  like 
the  relationship  in  that  of  Mr.  Steve  Reardon  to  Georgie 
Cohan:  unswerving  admiration  and  solicitude,  coupled 
with  a  capacity  to  give  comfort  in  times  of  threatened 
depression.  Along  with  General  Blair  and  Mr.  Cavanaugh 
were  two  others  whose  names  I  forget,  but  who  owned 
the  poker  chips  and  parted  with  them  only  temporarily. 
I  can't  remember  General  Blair  as  playing.  He  was  early 
pointed  out  on  the  train  by  some  who  knew  him,  and 
many  passengers  introduced  themselves,  so  that  his  trip 
was  a  reception  for  most  of  the  way. 

On  our  O.  &  M.  and  B.  &  O.  trains  there  were  no  din- 
ing-cars, no  automatic  brakes,  no  system  of  heating  ex- 


cept  the  stoves,  one  to  each  car.  We  stopped  twenty 
minutes  for  breakfast,  dinner,  or  supper,  and  with  no 
uncertainty  about  dinner  being  the  midday  meal,  and 
into  the  high-toned  heater  the  porter  fed  anthracite  coal, 
the  first  I  had  ever  seen. 

The  engineer  whistled  one  short  sharp  call  for  brakes, 
with  staccato  repetitions  in  moments  of  emergency,  and 
then  blew  two  reassuring  toots  for  their  release.  Five 
blasts  then,  as  now,  sent  back  the  brakeman  with  his 
red  flag  and  track  torpedoes  when  we  made  unscheduled 
stops,  and  four  whistles  called  him  in.  There  was  no 
auditor  on  the  train  and  the  conductor  unprotestingly 
took  money  where  the  tickets  had  not  been  provided. 

The  trim  of  our  sleeper  was  of  black  walnut;  the 
upper  berths  when  closed  had  flat  surfaces,  angular  cor- 
ners instead  of  the  slightly  convex  mahogany  boards 
that  now  furnish  them;  and  when  open  they  were  not 
held  down  with  the  wire  cables  that  now  anchor  upper 
berths.  That  security  was  introduced  in  the  late  seven- 
ties, after  an  upper  berth  in  an  overturned  private  car 
had  shut  up  and  smothered  its  occupant,  Mr.  Taussig, 
the  treasurer  of  the  old  Kansas  City  and  Northern  Rail- 
road. In  this  old-style  Pullman  the  rails  for  the  curtains, 
stout  horizontal  bars,  ran  the  full  length  of  the  car  on 
each  side,  supported  by  uprights  at  each  section.  The 
water  in  the  wash-rooms  did  not  flow  under  pressure  as 
now,  but  at  each  basin  passengers  worked  a  brass-and- 
ebony  pump  handle.  Watches  were  to  be  set  forward 
nearly  an  hour  to  adjust  the  difference  between  St.  Louis 
and  Washington  City  time.  In  our  party  there  was  un- 
certainty about  this  interval,  and  I  recall  the  astonish- 
ment of  the  men  when  I  calculated  it  for  them  mentally, 
as  the  dullest  boy  or  girl  in  our  Webster  School  class  of 


fifty  would  have  done,  and  in  order  to  do  so  knew,  of 
course,  the  meridians  of  the  two  cities  in  the  problem. 
I  couldn't  do  it  now  without  complete  quiet,  a  large  atlas, 
and  paper  and  pencil.  Can  any  settled  citizen  do  it,  or 
has  any  the  needed  items  of  information  except  perhaps 
Mr.  Edison? 

At  Washington  our  B.  &  O.  train  on  that  earlier  B.  & 
O.  Railroad  was  some  hours  late,  and  arrived  in  the  col- 
lection of  sheds  that  then  did  duty  as  a  station  a  little 
north  of  the  Capitol  somewhere  near  midnight.  My 
father  had  arranged  for  me  to  board  with  an  army  friend 
and  printer  companion  of  his,  Major  Stone,  popularly 
known  in  St.  Louis  as  Fighting  Harry  Stone  because  of 
his  gallant  conduct  at  the  battle  of  Wilson's  Creek,  when 
General  Nathaniel  Lyon  was  killed.  Harry  Stone's  wife, 
who  was  a  friend  of  my  mother's,  had  been  Alice  Buck, 
a  celebrated  soprano  associate  upon  concert  programmes 
with  Eliza  Emmett,  the  talented  sister  of  the  famous 
J.  K.  Emmett  already  mentioned.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Stone 
had  three  children.  One  of  the  daughters,  Patti  Stone, 
became  well  known  in  light  opera  on  Broadway  in  the 
early  nineties;  a  son,  Blair,  became  a  star  acrobat. 

In  this  winter  of  1870  patriotism,  rewarded  by  a  job 
in  the  public  printer's,  took  Mr.  Stone  to  Washington, 
where  he  found  for  his  family  a  house  on  F  Street  near 
Fifteenth,  in  what  is  now  the  Shoreham  Hotel  district. 
Before  leaving  St.  Louis  I  had  taken  the  precaution  to 
find  a  map  of  Washington  City  in  the  public-school 
library  and  get  a  fair  idea  of  the  relative  location  of  this 
address.  A  December  rain  was  falling  as  General  Blair 
and  his  group  of  politicians  came  from  the  station  with 
me.  I  saw  the  looks  of  amusement  on  the  faces  of  his 
friends  as  they  considered  the  General  and  his  embarrass- 


ing  protege,  and  was  quick  to  tell  him  I  thought  I  could 
find  my  way  if  he  would  start  me  right  as  to  the  points 
of  the  compass.  There  was  a  little  council  between  the 
men,  and  after  further  insistence  on  my  part  I  was  put 
alone  into  a  bobtail  car  drawn  by  a  mule  and  carrying 
a  Slawson  box  for  the  passengers'  fares,  all  reassuringly 
like  our  St.  Louis  horse-cars. 

Upon  my  arrival  at  the  house  I  was  a  long  time  waking 
the  family,  and  was  finally  admitted  by  Fighting  Harry 
himself.  He  sleepily  showed  me  to  the  room  that  was 
to  be  mine  and  said  good-night.  I  don't  think  at  any 
time  in  my  life  since  has  there  been  an  equal  feeling  of 
loneliness  to  what  I  then  had  as  I  put  down  my  bag  and 
took  off  my  wet  clothes  in  an  unheated  room.  The  house 
had  only  open  grates,  and  there  was  no  fire  for  this  be- 
lated guest.  As  I  stood  on  the  sagging  mattress  to  reach 
the  gas-jet  when  I  turned  it  out  for  the  night  I  found 
that  I  was  still  a  little  seasick  from  the  oscillating  beau- 
ties of  the  Susquehanna  Valley. 

The  next  morning,  one  of  those  crisp  sunshiny  winter 
days  that  Washington  can  show  in  early  December 
cheered  me  completely.  Mrs.  Stone  I  had  known  as  a 
neighbor  all  my  life.  She  gave  me  a  hot  breakfast  passed 
from  stove  to  table  just  as  my  own  mother  would  have 
done  it,  and  I  set  out  for  the  Capitol  in  the  best  of  spirits. 
I  knew  which  was  the  House  end  if  I  could  strike  the 
familiar  view  shown  on  the  two-dollar  bill  on  which  my 
father  had  indicated  it.  I  soon  found  this,  and  the  door- 
keeper, Mr.  Buxton,  was  expecting  my  report  for  duty. 

In  that  handsome  Hall  of  Representatives,  at  ten 
o'clock  on  that  morning,  there  were  besides  myself 
twenty  other  page  boys.  The  layout  of  the  place  and 
its  relation  to  the  larger  building  conformed  with  the 


understudied  impressions  I  had  from  the  State  capitol 
at  Jefferson  City,  but  on  a  scale  of  true  magnificence  for 
which  I  was  unprepared.  I  think  the  Capitol  at  Wash- 
ington is  the  only  building  I  ever  saw  while  a  boy  which 
after  a  lapse  of  years  did  not  seem  smaller  on  a  second 
view.  At  that  time  it  fully  symbolized  what  I  felt  was 
the  grandeur  of  the  nation  and  the  power  of  the  Govern- 
ment with  which  I  was  officially  connected. 

When  the  House  assembled  at  noon  in  its  semicircle 
of  dignified  desks  and  chairs,  with  aisles  converging  at 
the  tables  of  administration,  I  felt  more  at  home  than 
I  had  thought  I  should. 

The  statesmen  of  that  day  were  the  successful  soldiers 
of  the  earlier  part  of  the  same  decade.  In  that  historic 
Congress  of  reconstruction  there  were  more  than  a  dozen 
faces  with  which  I  was  already  familiar  by  their  por- 
traits in  the  heavy  album  that  stood  on  the  little  oval 
marble-topped  table  in  its  place  of  honor  in  grand- 
mother's parlor.  Among  those  whom  I  soon  identified 
were  Generals  Banks,  Logan,  Butler,  Schenck,  Garfield, 
and  Slocum.  I  do  not  name  them  alphabetically,  but  as 
I  see  them  now  in  a  mental  picture  of  the  chamber,  read- 
ing from  left  to  right  as  the  modern  group  photograph 

That  night  as  I  sat  at  supper  with  Fighting  Harry 
Stone,  the  grand  army  comrade  of  these  heroes  I  had 
left  in  the  Capitol,  and  felt  myself  the  son  of  another 
soldier  and  prompt  fighting  man  off  there  in  Missouri 
so  undeniably  of  their  company,  too,  I  refrained  from 
all  mention  of  the  close  association,  but  in  my  heart  I 
longed  for  a  confidential  and  glowing  hour  with  grand- 
mother and  her  noble  gallery. 

AH  of  these  fellow  page  boys  of  mine  were  away  from 

their  homes  proper  and  many  of  them  without  super- 
vision. It  was  a  rule  of  the  then  superintendent  that 
each  boy  should  take  two  baths  a  week  in  one  of  the  sev- 
eral large  bathrooms  provided  for  the  House.  An  adult 
interpretation  of  Article  VIII  of  the  Constitutional 
Amendments  made  things  easier  for  the  statesmen  them- 
selves. These  bathrooms,  of  which  there  were  four  or 
five,  were  built  of  marble,  with  a  tub  cut  from  a  solid 
block,  the  cavity  of  which  must  have  been  quite  eight 
feet  long  and  proportionately  wide.  A  boy  of  twelve  or 
thirteen  could  take  a  good  swimming  stroke  in  one  of 
them.  In  the  winter  these  baths  had  a  touch  of  regimen 
about  them.  The  tickets,  two  a  week,  were  issued  on 
certain  days  at  the  doorkeeper's  desk  and  had  to  be  re- 
turned by  the  attendant  in  the  bathroom  as  used,  but 
it  wasn't  always  possible  to  make  the  lad  to  whom  the 
ticket  was  given  take  the  bath  it  called  for.  And  so  as 
the  weather  grew  warmer — and  it  can  grow  warmer  in 
Washington — and  as  the  asphalt  began  to  run — and  it 
does — the  boys  with  hotel  tubs  sold  a  government  ticket 
now  and  then  to  a  comrade  not  so  well  fixed. 

This  is  the  time  for  me  to  state  a  fact  heretofore  with- 
held because  its  earlier  telling  would  not  have  been  an 
economy  of  attention.  Grandmother's  second  husband, 
the  Honorable  Augustus  Wallace  Scharit,  was  the  half- 
brother  of  my  father,  born  of  an  earlier  marriage  of 
father's  mother.  A.  W.,  as  he  was  usually  called  by  our 
family,  was  about  fourteen  years  father's  senior,  and 
being  at  once  his  stepbrother  and  by  marriage  his  step- 
father-in-law,  bore  to  my  father  a  complicated  relation- 
ship that  made  father's  qualified  support  of  A.  W.'s  wife 
in  the  differences  between  that  pair  difficult  for  A.  W. 
to  tolerate.  These  two  half-brothers  were  not  hostile, 


but  they  had  little  correspondence.  I  had  been  in  Wash- 
ington only  a  fortnight  when  a  letter  from  father  with- 
drew all  implied  restraint  and  gave  me  A.  W.'s  address. 
My  short  note  to  him — I  was  his  namesake — was  an- 
swered by  a  call  at  the  Capitol,  and  A.  W.,  of  whose  dis- 
tinguished bearing  any  boy  could  be  proud,  took  me  to 
his  home  and  arranged  for  my  stay  there  during  the  rest 
of  my  time  in  Washington. 

In  appearance  A.  W.  strongly  reminded  me  of  Carl 
Schurz,  minus  the  whiskers;  the  same  alert,  wiry  figure; 
the  same  brow;  the  same  full  shock  of  hair;  the  same 
tragic  directness  of  glance  and  an  actor-orator's  de- 
veloped power  in  the  mask.  He  lived  apparently  alone 
in  his  own  house  and  took  his  meals  at  the  table  of  an 
attractive  widow  whose  house  adjoined  his  in  the  one 
detached  garden  of  some  two  hundred  feet  frontage  next 
to  Waugh  Chapel,  on  North  A  Street,  three  blocks  east 
of  the  Capitol.  My  meals  were  arranged  for  at  this 
widow's,  and  as  the  widow  had  a  son  the  prospect  was 
agreeable.  The  experience  did  not  disappoint  the 
promise.  This  boy,  then  at  the  age  of  fourteen,  was 
being  trained  for  the  stage.  For  some  reason  of  her  own 
his  mother  gave  him  the  invented  family  name  Palmoni. 

A.  W.  took  a  deep  interest  in  him,  and  while  I  was 
there  generally  had  me  share  his  theatrical  lessons.  A. 
W.  was  encouraging  to  me  in  his  early  questionnaires, 
and  was  especially  amused  with  my  giving  grandmother's 
version  of  Charlotte  Cushman's  reading  of  the  lines,  "In- 
fnm  of  purpose  !  Give  me  the  daggers."  At  unexpected 
and  genial  moments  he  would  sometimes  even  ask  for 
its  repetition.  Until  then  I  had  not  suspected  that 
Lady  Macbeth  was  anything  of  a  comedy  part. 

In  the  rear  of  the  acre  garden  was  a  stucco  stable  and 

carriage-house  some  three  years  old,  finished  perhaps 
about  the  time  that  the  paper  money  remittances  began 
to  be  irregular.  It  had  evidently  never  been  used  as  a 
stable,  but  was  what  the  contractors  call  broom  clean. 
A.  W.  helped  the  boy  and  me  rig  it  as  a  little  playhouse. 
There  was  a  box  of  army  things  in  it  which  came  in  use- 
fully and  reminded  me  to  tell  A.  W.  of  my  having  got 
the  shipment  of  epaulets.  He  affected  astonishment 
that  grandmother  had  not  wanted  them — at  least  wanted 
a  pair  of  them.  Among  this  army  stuff  were  two  sabers 
that  A.  W.  had  cut  off  to  a  proportionate  length  and  with 
which  he  taught  this  boy  and  me  such  broadsword  exer- 
cises as  would  be  useful  in  the  theatre. 

For  that  family  playhouse  I  did  my  first  dramatic 
writing.  It  must  be  truthfully  told  that  it  was  largely 
in  collaboration.  Having  seen  two  performances  of  Mr. 
Joseph  Jefferson's  "Rip  Van  Winkle"  I  made  from 
memory  a  juvenile  condensation  of  Mr.  Boucicault's 
book.  As  author  I  cast  myself  for  Rip  and  my  boy  friend 
played  Nick  Vedder. 

Few  dramatists  begin  with  more  distinguished  even 
though  unwitting  collaborators  than  Dion  Boucicault 
and  Washington  Irving.  With  the  insistence  of  A.  W., 
I  also  tackled  Sir  Walter  Scott,  and  made  a  workable 
dialogue  of  the  principal  conflicts  in  "The  Lady  of  the 
Lake"  in  which  I  played  Roderick  Dbu,  and  Palmoni 
played  Fitzjames.  A.  W.  himself  rehearsed  us  in  the 
quarrel  between  Brutus  and  Cassius. 

At  the  widow's  table,  where  he  was  A.  W.'s  guest,  I 
met  the  senior  E.  L.  Davenport.  During  that  week  I 
had  seen  Mr.  Davenport  play  Macbeth,  Hamlet,  and  Sir 
Giles  Overreach. 

I  watched  him  closely,  but  neither  as  himself  nor  in 


any  of  the  three  roles  named  could  I  trace  an  identifying 
resemblance  between  Mr.  Davenport  and  the  handsome 
steel  engraving  of  him  in  the  part  of  Benedick  that  was 
in  the  1855  edition  of  Ballou's  Pictorial. 

In  that  meeting  Mr.  Davenport  said  nothing  that  I 
remember  about  his  son  Edgar  or  his  daughter  Fannie. 
I  had  no  way  of  foretelling  that  I  should  one  day  know 
and  admire  them  both  and  be  friendly  with  them,  or 
that  his  younger  son,  Harry  Davenport,  probably  not 
born  at  that  time,  would  be  a  member  in  my  company. 

Among  other  theatrical  friends  who  came  there  was 
the  actor  James  Murdock,  whose  recitation  of  "Sheri- 
dan's Ride"  made  the  popularity  of  those  verses  by 
Thomas  Buchanan  Read. 

Another  visitor  at  A.  W.'s  table,  Margaret  Meade,  a 
distinguished  spinster,  aged  perhaps  fifty  years,  brought 
with  her  sometimes  her  two  adopted  daughters,  who, 
however,  retained  the  family  names  of  their  dead  soldier 
fathers.  One  of  these  girls,  two  or  three  years  my  junior, 
was  named  Marie.  I  have  forgotten  the  name  of  the 
other.  Marie,  not  yet  too  old  to  slump  on  Miss  Meade's 
lap  and  lean  her  blond  head  against  her  guardian's  lace 
collar,  had  steady  gray  eyes,  big  as  an  Angora  cat's. 
She  almost  made  me  forget  the  thirty-year-old  Sunday- 
school  teacher  who  had  owned  my  heart  since  I  was  eight. 
Margaret  Meade  had  two  religions — Catholicism  and 
her  distinguished  brother,  General  George  Meade,  of 
Gettysburg  fame. 

Margaret  told  us  one  day  that  while  the  Battle  of 
Gettysburg  was  on,  its  uncertain  tide  in  ebb  and  flow, 
she  had  gone  to  the  White  House  and  sent  her  card  in 
to  Abraham  Lincoln.  When  admitted  she  asked  the 
President  if  he  had  any  word  of  the  issue.  He  answered  no. 


She  said:    "Neither  have  I;   but  I'm  George  Meade's 

sister,  and  I  thought  you  might  like  to  know  that  what- 
ever he  undertakes  he  carries  through." 

It  was  small  assurance,  but  there  are  crises  in  which 
even  a  word  from  a  courageous  heart  is  of  help.  Lincoln 
thanked  her  for  her  call  and  said  it  had  been  of  comfort. 
My  own  anxiety  about  Marie  lasted  longer  than  the 
Battle  of  Gettysburg,  and  nobody  helped  any. 

During  all  that  season  about  twice  a  week  A.  W.  took 
the  other  boy  and  me  to  the  theatre,  and  was  always 
particular  when  the  curtain  fell  after  an  act  to  indicate 
what  he  thought  had  been  excellent  in  the  performance. 
At  that  time  the  street-cars  from  the  National  Theatre 
stopped  at  the  west  front  of  the  Capitol.  To  reach  home 
we  had  to  circle  its  big  hill  on  foot  and  walk  three  more 
blocks  to  the  house.  One  jolly  winter  night,  after  a  per- 
formance with  a  stiff  north  gale  in  our  faces,  A.  W.  took 
us  boys  both  up  this  hill,  one  on  each  side,  completely 
covered  and  protected  under  a  great  black  broadcloth 
circular,  with  velvet  collar  and  throat  clasps  of  silver 
lion's  heads  linked  together,  a  counterpart  of  the  one 
that  grandmother  wore  in  St.  Louis.  Both  were  of  Eng- 
lish make. 



I  was  in  A.  W.'s  home  with  the  advantage  of  his  in- 
struction and  the  companionship  of  young  Palmoni  for 
a  little  over  seven  months,  as  the  second  session  of  the 
Forty-first  Congress  lasted  well  into  July.  Besides  his 
interest  in  my  education  and  his  personal  hospitality  I 
am  glad  to  record  his  help  in  other  ways.  At  that  period 
father's  loss  of  time  and  other  investments  in  the  Glencoe 
enterprises,  together  with  a  general  hard-luck  story,  all 
useful  only  in  their  bloc  aspect,  had  made  this  work  in 
Washington  or  some  equal  employment  imperative  on 
my  part.  In  other  words,  the  family  needed  the  money. 
I  was  able  to  send  home  my  entire  salary  every  month. 
A.  W.  provided  my  clothes  as  they  needed  renewal,  and 
a  page  boy's  perquisites  gave  me  a  very  liberal  allowance 
for  my  personal  needs.  These  perquisites,  which  at  first 
I  refused,  were  accepted  later  with  a  Western  boy's  real 
reluctance;  reluctance  not  that  the  perquisites  were  at 
all  unlawful  in  their  character,  but  because  of  our  inde- 
pendent training.  Among  all  the  barefoot  boys  with 
whom  I  played  in  St.  Louis  I  cannot  recall  one  to  whom 
a  stranger  for  any  casual  service  could  have  given  what 
is  now  called  a  tip.  Not  only  would  it  have  been  refused, 
but  the  boy  in  declining  it  would  have  colored  with  in- 

The  boys  reported  for  duty  in  the  Hall  of  Represen- 
tatives at  nine  in  the  morning.  Two  or  three  days  in 



the  week  the  work  was  there.  It  consisted  in  getting 
from  the  document  room  the  House  bills  that  had  been 
ordered  printed,  sometimes  four  or  five  at  a  time,  and 
adding  them  to  the  individual  files,  so  that  each  member 
of  the  two  hundred  and  twenty-six  then  there,  as  he  came 
to  the  daily  session,  found  under  his  desk  the  measures 
that  would  come  up  for  consideration.  On  the  busy  days 
work  was  generally  through  in  an  hour,  and  on  other 
days  there  was  nothing  to  do,  which  gave  us  always  two 
or  three  hours  before  the  gavel  fell  at  noon. 

The  official  guides  now  in  the  Capitol  had  not  then 
been  appointed;  the  page  boys  took  visitors  to  the  points 
of  interest  in  the  great  building,  from  dome  to  crypt. 
We  showed  them  the  Chamber  of  the  Supreme  Court, 
which  in  the  early  days  had  been  the  Senate  Chamber,  a 
comparatively  little  room,  but  the  one  in  which  Webster, 
Clay,  Calhoun,  and  others  had  spoken  their  great  ora- 
tions. We  showed  them  what  had  been  in  former  days 
the  House  of  Representatives,  but  now  in  1 870  used  only 
as  a  Hall  of  Statuary.  The  crypt,  several  floors  lower 
than  the  rotunda,  designed  by  the  architects  as  a  tomb 
for  George  Washington,  and  in  1865  unsuccessfully  urged 
as  a  vault  for  Lincoln,  was  a  chill,  unlighted  place  con- 
taining at  that  time  only  a  stately  platform  and  somber 
pall  that  five  years  before  had  held  the  casket  of  the  mur- 
dered Lincoln  when  his  body  lay  in  state  at  the  White 

This  pall  was  now  a  neglected  object,  tattered  by  the 
vandal  mutilations  of  the  relic-seekers. 

A  second  source  of  revenue  was  autographs.  Nearly 
every  visitor  had  one  or  more  favorite  statesmen  whose 
signatures  he  coveted.  If  for  no  other  reason  than  that 
it  was  a  favor  to  the  boys,  the  members  without  excep- 


tion  were  very  glad  to  write  their  names,  and  perhaps 
publicity  was  valued  even  then.  The  only  one  who  made 
any  special  fuss  about  his  autograph  was  Mr.  Clarkson 
N.  Potter,  of  New  York,  who,  being  at  the  head  of  a  large 
banking  institution,  had  to  be  careful.  His  system  was 
to  write  his  name  and  then  scratch  a  very  positive  cancel- 
lation of  some  kind  on  the  back  of  it. 

A  third  source  of  income,  which  probably  still  exists, 
was  getting  orders  for  printed  speeches.  A  speaking 
member  had  the  right  to  designate  the  boy  who  should 
circulate  a  subscription  paper  for  his  speech.  An  order 
blank  was  furnished  and  as  an  oratorical  effort  stirred 
the  listening  colleagues  the  boy  in  charge  of  it  slipped 
from  desk  to  desk  gathering  his  orders,  because  many  a 
brilliant  effort  once  cold  and  in  the  Congressional  Record 
was  unmarketable.  This  list  turned  in  to  the  printing 
company  was  good  for  three  cents  a  hundred  on  all  orders 
obtained.  I  have  known  a  boy  to  make  as  high  as  one 
hundred  dollars  on  some  misleading  effort;  more  than 
once  I  made  ten  or  twelve  myself,  which  was  perhaps 
the  average.  The  boys  were  able  to  estimate  the  value 
of  a  measure  as  it  was  introduced,  and  by  knowing  the 
chairman  of  the  committee  to  which  it  would  be  referred 
to  get  far  in  advance  the  promise  of  the  speeches  that 
would  be  forthcoming.  There  was  a  kind  of  real  political 
sagacity  about  it. 

These  visitors  sometimes  paid  the  pages  to  go  on  with 
a  certain  impromptu  show.  In  order  that  the  human 
faculty  of  speech  should  be  acquired  and  grow  Nature 
ordained  that  childhood  should  be  imitative.  And 
whether,  as  Max  Miiller  claims,  the  words  "go"  and 
"va"  were  instituted  by  the  hungry  and  complaining 
cow,  the  child  speech  follows  imitatively  the  sounds  of 


the  mother's  voice.  Much  of  juvenile  fun  is  mimicry 
in  all  the  wide  range  from  polar  bear  to  lady-come-to- 
see.  Self-consciousness  and  chill  criticism  check  this  as 
we  gather  years  until  few  old  human  dogs  can  learn  new 
tricks;  but  the  page  boys  were  still  responsive. 

It  was  great  fun,  with  only  some  score  of  other  pages 
as  audience,  for  a  boy  in  the  otherwise  empty  House  to 
get  into  the  place  of  a  prominent  member  and  spout 
ridiculous  fragments  of  that  member's  speech  the  day 
before.  Often  this  example  would  organize  all  sections 
of  the  chamber.  One  boy  would  get  Mr.  Elaine's  gavel 
and  smartly  call  for  order,  and  the  rest  would  scamper 
each  to  the  seat  where  he  felt  sure  of  making  the  greatest 
hit.  One  wrould  mouth  and  mush  like  General  Butler; 
another  would  scold  like  Sunset  Cox;  a  third,  like  Bing- 
ham,  would  wave  the  bloody  shirt;  and  others  would 
yell  points  of  order  and  questions  of  privilege,  with  quite 
as  much  effect  on  legislation  as  any  average  night  ses- 
sion. I've  seen  and  heard  as  recognizable  and  as  scream- 
ingly funny  imitations  of  national  legislators  by  those 
boys  of  thirteen  to  fifteen  years  of  age  as  ever  Nat  Good- 
win, Elsie  Janis,  or  Frank  Fay  gave  of  their  selected  celeb- 
rities. Once  started,  we  were  so  intent  on  our  mock 
session  that  visitors  or  early  members  sometimes  caught 
us  at  it.  I'm  sure  that  I  could  now  suggest  any  member 
more  vividly  by  imitation  than  I  can  by  description. 

My  thoughts  jump  ahead  in  the  years  to  the  only  imi- 
tation I  ever  heard  attempted  of  Abraham  Lincoln,  and 
because  it  is  so  related  to  my  present  subject  in  char- 
acter and  in  time  I  hope  I  may  be  permitted  to  take  it 
from  its  deferred  date  of  later  accident.  The  imitation 
was  very  respectfully  made  at  the  request  of  a  number 
of  men  at  a  small  dinner-party  in  1914.  The  host  was 


Mr.  Charles  R.  Flint,  the  father  of  the  trusts.  Among 
the  eight  or  ten  guests  were  Mr.  Charles  Schwab,  the 
Honorable  Martin  Littleton,  Patrick  Francis  Murphy, 
Robert  H.  Davis,  editor  of  Munsey's,  and  the  late  F. 
Hopkinson  Smith,  the  distinguished  novelist  and  artist, 
whom  the  country  best  remembers  as  author  of  "Colonel 
Carter  of  Cartersville."  Senator  Chauncey  M.  Depew 
was  the  raconteur  for  the  moment. 

As  Secretary  of  State  of  New  York  in  1 864  it  had  been 
Mr.  Depew's  duty  to  spend  some  months  in  Washington 
endeavoring  to  get  the  result  of  the  soldier  vote  in  the 
presidential  election  of  that  year.  His  duty  as  well  as 
his  inclination  threw  him  into  very  frequent  intercourse 
with  President  Lincoln.  Mr.  Depew  had  begun  to  tell 
the  celebrated  Longnecker  story,  which  I  do  not  think 
has  been  in  print,  but  as  it  is  part  of  the  senator's  reper- 
toire belongs  in  his  recollections  and  not  these.  It  was 
then  that  one  of  the  men  present  asked  him  as  to  Lin- 
coln's manner.  The  senator  answered  that  the  voice 
was  moderately  pitched  and  pleasant,  the  speech  very 
slow,  having  about  it,  as  he  indicated,  somewhat  of  the 
Mark  Twain  drawl  which  is  so  generally  the  manner 
with  men  in  whom  humor  predominates,  and  proceeding 
with  his  story  for  a  few  phrases  gave  what  we  thought 
a  very  characteristic  suggestion  of  the  Lincoln  manner. 

I  had  been  reading  in  "Emerson's  Journal,"  just  pub- 
lished, the  account  of  his  visit  to  President  Lincoln  on 
the  morning  of  January  31,  1862,  in  which  he  says:  "The 
President  impressed  me  more  favorably  than  I  had 
hoped;  a  frank,  sincere,  well-meaning  man,  with  a  law- 
yer's habit  of  mind;  good,  clear  statement  of  his  fact; 
correct  enough;  not  vulgar,  as  described,  but  with  a 
sort  of  boyish  cheerfulness,  or  that  kind  of  sincerity  and 


jolly  good  meaning  that  our  class  meetings  on  commence- 
ment days  show  in  telling  our  old  stories  over.  When  he 
has  made  his  remark  he  looks  up  at  you  with  great  satis- 
faction, and  shows  all  his  white  teeth,  and  laughs/' 

Mr.  Depew's  imitation,  coupled  with  the  swift  de- 
scription of  the  Lincoln  manner  by  Mr.  Emerson,  has 
given  me  an  impression  of  the  great  President  that  pro- 
tects me  against  the  occasional  attempts  to  portray  him 
lugubriously.  If,  actor  fashion,  guided  by  Senator  De- 
pew's  suggestion,  one  tries  to  realize  that  description  of 
Emerson's — the  quick,  boyish,  upward  glance,  the  flash 
of  the  white  teeth,  followed  by  a  laugh,  the  pathetic 
legend  of  Lincoln  crumbles.  One  cannot  convey  in  print 
Mr.  Depew's  pleasant  imitation,  and  few  writers  have 
Emerson's  genius  for  description;  but  the  acceptability 
of  impressions  so  attempted  encourages  me  to  think  that 
descriptions  of  manner,  especially  as  the  manner  fixes 
itself  in  the  mind  of  an  impressionable  and  as  yet  unpre- 
judiced boy,  may  not  be  unwelcome.  May  I  fortify  this 
belief  by  another  example  from  Emerson,  a  description 
of  Daniel  Webster  in  the  Senate,  seeking  for  a  word  that 
does  not  come? 

"He  pauses,  puts  his  hand  to  his  brow — you  would 
think  then  there  was  a  mote  in  his  eye.  Still  it  comes 
not;  then  he  puts  his  hands,  American  fashion,  first  into 
his  breast  under  his  waistcoat,  deeper  than  I  can — then 
to  the  bottom  of  his  fobs,  bends  forward — then  the  word 
is  bound  to  come;  he  throws  back  his  head,  and  out  it 
comes  with  a  leap,  and  I  promise  you,  it  has  its  full  effect 
on  the  Senate." 

Mr.  Webster  could  hardly  have  been  more  pausy  than 
General  Benjamin  F.  Butler  of  our  Congress  under 
similar  conditions.  General  Butler's  way  to  search  for 
the  proper  word,  which  when  found  came  with  a  marks- 


man's  precision  to  the  bull's-eye,  was  to  throw  back  his 
head  until  the  undulating  line  from  his  nether  lip  to  his 
collar  button  ran  at  the  general  angle  of  forty-five  de- 
grees; to  drop  his  heavy  eyelids  for  a  curtained  intro- 
spection; issue  two  or  three  inaudible  poof-poofs  as  the 
mask  wore  the  misleading  effect  of  a  broad  grin,  the  mood 
of  which  was  no  more  in  the  general's  mind  than  play- 
fulness was  behind  the  permanent  grimace  of  I'Homme 
qui  rit,  and  then  to  blurt  out  his  word  with  a  rasping  of 
the  sibilants  suggestive  of  artificial  teeth.  When  indig- 
nant, as  he  often  was,  he  spoke  with  this  backward  toss 
of  the  head  and  a  pouting  combination  of  flexible  under- 
lip  and  mustache  that  made  difficult  work  for  the  stenog- 

My  sponsor,  Mr.  Erastus  Wells,  had  been  shown  a 
pencil  drawing  of  General  Blair  that  I  had  made  on  the 
train,  and  now  in  the  House  encouraged  me  in  making 
caricatures  of  the  members.  There  was  no  great  demand 
or  market  for  these  productions  until  one  day,  knowing 
the  calumnies  against  General  Butler  by  the  Southerners, 
who  charged  him  with  appropriating  silver  when  he  was 
in  command  of  the  army  of  occupation  in  the  South,  I 
made  a  profile  drawing  of  the  general  sitting  in  the  bowl 
of  a  large  soupspoon  with  his  feet  extended  along  the 
handle.  Some  critic,  writing  of  the  general  at  that  time, 
said  that  his  head  was  like  an  egg  laid  sideways  and  so 
smooth  that  a  phrenologist  must  pronounce  it  uniformly 
bad  or  monotonously  good.  That  bald  egg-shaped  crown 
with  its  heavy  fringe  of  clubbed  hair  was  easy  to  draw. 
On  the  Democratic  side  of  the  House  these  caricatures 
were  in  demand,  and  on  more  than  one  occasion  their 
cunning  circulation  took  attention  from  Mr.  Butler  as 
he  was  speaking. 

One  of  those  afternoons  the  doorkeeper  told  me  to 


stay  after  school.  The  members  departed  until  only 
three  or  four  were  in  the  chamber  finishing  some  belated 
correspondence.  Among  these  was  General  Butler  at 
his  desk.  The  doorkeeper  told  me  to  follow  him. 

When  he  reached  the  desk  he  said,  "General,  this  is 
the  boy  who  has  been  making  those  caricatures." 

The  general  laid  down  his  pen,  looked  up  either  at  me 
or  the  doorkeeper — he  was  very  cross-eyed — and  after 
an  intimidating  pause,  rose  to  his  feet.  I  watched  both 
men.  I  won't  pretend  to  interpret  what  passed  between 

The  silence  was  broken  by  General  Butler  saying, 
"Go  to  the  cloakroom  and  bring  me  my  hat  and  cloak." 

His  cloak  was  a  military  cape,  not  so  large  as  some  I 
knew;  the  hat  was  of  the  kind  subsequently  called  the 
Hancock  because  General  Hancock  wore  it  long  after  it 
had  been  abandoned  by  others:  a  high,  soft  crown,  witb 
a  stiff,  sharp,  uncurved  brim  of  felt.  The  gentleman 
from  Massachusetts  took  his  hat,  regarded  me  calmly 
for  a  moment,  blew  his  soft  cheeks  with  a  sudden  puff, 
as  John  Drew  does  when  making  a  comedy  point,  and 
then  dropped  the  hat  over  my  head  with  the  brim  rest- 
ing on  my  shoulders.  I  can  still  revive  the  reeking  berga- 
mot  with  which  it  was  redolent.  My  mother  had  used 
bergamot  on  my  curls,  and  grandmother's  antimacassars 
smelled  of  it.  After  a  time  of  penance  beneath  this 
snuffer,  where  I  feared  to  move,  I  heard  the  general's 
mushy  voice: 

"When  you  can  fill  that  hat,  young  man,  you  make 
caricatures  of  General  Butler." 

I  was  sent  home  for  the  day  with  a  caution  from  the 
doorkeeper  instead  of  the  dismissal  I  had  earned.  I  have 
always  remembered  this  act  of  generosity  to  a  fresh  kid 


who  had  been  ignorantly  circulating  graphic  repetitions 
of  a  heinous  slander  against  an  earnest  and  able  patriot. 
General  Butler  was  a  man  of  laconic  and  significant 
utterances.  A  speech  of  his,  an  example  of  these  quali- 
ties, occurred  in  that  session  which  was  nation-wide  in 
its  report  and  consequent  enjoyment.  At  that  distance 
from  the  war  many  songs  were  sung  with  more  or  less 
popularity,  taking  a  comedy  view  of  the  soldier,  songs 
of  the  Captain  Jinks  order.  Among  these  was  an  inane 
doggerel  called  "Shoo,  Fly,"  of  which  the  jingling  chorus 

"Shoo,  fly,  don't  bother  me, 
Shoo,  fly,  don't  bother  me, 
Shoo,  fly,  don't  bother  me, 
For  I  belong  to  Company  G." 

In  one  of  the  debates  Mr.  Butler  had  made  some  re- 
mark that  enraged  Mr.  Samuel  S.  Cox,  a  member  from 
New  York.  Mr.  Cox  was  known  as  Sunset  Cox,  because 
of  a  description  of  a  sunset  written  by  him  for  the  Ohio 
statesman,  and  his  initials  lent  themselves  to  the  name. 
He  was  a  fiery,  voluble  little  speaker,  not  more  than  five 
feet  three  inches  tall,  who  apparently  tried  to  overcome 
this  defect  of  stature  by  a  profusion  of  gesture.  He  had 
besides,  in  speaking,  a  cradling  motion  of  the  head  com- 
bining emphasis  with  menace,  very  like  the  personal 
mannerism  of  our  present  talented  State  Senator  J.  J. 

Getting  the  chairman's  recognition  when  General 
Butler  offended  him,  Mr.  Cox  broke  into  one  of  the  most 
vituperative  and  personal  tirades  ever  heard  in  a  par- 
liamentary body.  The  House  and  the  gallery  were  all 
attention,  and  more  than  one  member  was  endeavoring 


to  interrupt  in  the  cause  of  decorum,  but  the  general 
disposition  was  to  let  Mr.  Butler  answer.  Cox  took  his 
seat  amid  a  buzz  of  expectancy.  General  Butler  looked 
over  at  him  with  that  ambiguous  gaze  I  have  referred 
to,  paused  for  a  moment  while  the  silence  fell,  and  then 
half  turning  away  as  though  the  whole  episode  were 
closed,  and  with  a  wave  of  his  left  hand  in  dismissal  of 
the  little  member  from  New  York,  he  said:  "I  would 
reply  to  the  gentleman  as  any  newsboy  on  the  street 
would  answer  him,  'Shoo,  fly,  don't  bother  me/  '  Mr. 
Cox  was  on  his  feet  in  an  instant,  with  a  volleyed  retort 
bitter  and  extended,  but  unheard  by  any  except  those 
nearest  him  as  the  House  and  the  gallery  rocked  with 
laughter,  and  as  the  nation  did  the  following  day. 

On  strictly  party  measures  the  Democrats  were  in- 
capable of  any  action  other  than  to  protect  their  record. 
The  country  paid  more  attention  to  the  daily  proceed- 
ings of  Congress  then  than  it  seems  to  now,  and  on  all 
important  questions  the  votes  were  published.  Demo- 
crats, unable  to  make  a  dent  in  the  steam-roller  progress 
of  legislation  and  unwilling  to  listen  to  much  of  the  de- 
bate upon  a  measure,  frequently  passed  the  time  at  draw 

General  Robert  C.  Schenck,  of  Ohio,  who  codified  the 
rules  of  this  noble  national  game,  was  a  member  of  that 
Congress,  and  his  very  presence  was  a  constant  reminder 
of  the  recreation.  Just  across  from  the  Capitol,  where 
the  Business  Building  of  the  House  now  stands,  was  a 
small  brick  hotel,  with  restaurant  and  cafe,  called  the 
Casparis.  The  highest  games  of  poker  outside  of  Cham- 
berlin's  were  conducted  there.  When  a  measure  reached 
a  vote  of  record — that  is  to  say,  reached  a  call  of  the 
ayes  and  nays — it  was  my  standing  instruction  to  drop 


whatever  was  in  hand  and  in  the  language  of  the  spright- 
lier  symbolists  do  a  Paul  Revere  to  the  Casparis  House, 
and  the  adjacent  committee  rooms  in  the  Capitol  itself; 
to  dash  without  ceremony  into  the  rooms  where  the  men 
were  handling  the  chips  and  pasteboards  and  cry, 
"Calling  the  roll  on  the  admission  of  Virginia,"  or  what- 
ever the  measure  happened  to  be.  The  players  would 
then  make  the  best  time  possible  to  their  places  in  the 
House,  where  it  was  each  member's  privilege  before  the 
vote  was  announced  to  get  the  recognition  of  the  chair 
and  have  his  name,  which  in  the  case  of  his  absence  had 
been  called  twice  by  the  clerk,  again  repeated  and  his 
answer  registered.  The  roll  call  began  with  Adams,  Al- 
lison, Ambler,  and  so  on,  and  proceeded  alphabetically. 
We  could  generally  get  our  reserves  into  the  House  as 
the  clerk  was  doing  the  Whitmans  and  Wilkinsons.  The 
telegraph  thereupon  carried  to  his  district  this  evidence 
of  a  member's  vigilance  which  cost  but  slight  interrup- 
tion to  the  game. 

On  one  of  these  Marathon  round-ups  I  made  my  last 
call  at  the  room  of  the  Committee  on  Indian  Affairs. 
This  committee  was  not  in  session;  but  two  or  three 
members,  including  Mr.  Cox,  were  sharing  with  some  of 
the  visiting  Indians  whose  claims  were  before  the  com- 
mittee a  bottle  of  fire-water.  Mr.  Cox,  who  was  just 
my  own  height,  but  protected  from  page-boy  calls  by 
as  many  whiskers  as  Secretary  Hughes,  did  not  need 
support;  but  he  threw  his  arm  around  my  neck,  partly 
as  a  result  of  the  entertainment  they  had  been  sharing 
and  ostensibly  to  show  to  the  petitioning  chiefs  that 
even  a  little  boy  was  safe  with  him.  The  other  arm  he 
threw  around  the  waist  of  Red  Cloud  himself,  who  on 
that  formal  visit  was  in  buckskins,  blanket  and  feathers, 


and  in  that  fashion  we  marched  abreast,  the  gentleman 
from  New  York  in  the  middle,  the  big  chief  on  his  right, 
and  on  his  left  the  unsophisticated  page  boy  from  Mis- 
souri, down  the  multicolored  corridor,  past  the  statue 
of  Jefferson  and  past  Emanuel  Leutze's  mural  painting, 
"  Westward,  Ho ! "  We  would  have  so  appeared  upon  the 
floor  if  a  doorkeeper  in  Grand  Army  uniform  had  not 
helped  Red  Cloud  and  me  to  get  away. 

Night  sessions  were  pretty  hard  on  the  boys.  We  had 
come  from  school  and  home  life,  where  thoughtful 
mothers  would  shepherd  us  at  bedtime,  and  the  night 
session,  with  its  droning  monotony  of  soporific  drivel 
intended  only  for  print,  would  sometimes  lag  on  until 
two  in  the  morning.  There  was  little  for  the  page  boys 
to  do  at  such  a  time  but  sleep  on  the  marble  steps  of  the 
Speaker's  stand,  so  we  took  turns  at  night  duty  in  squads 
of  seven.  These  sessions  were  always  thinly  attended. 
Sometimes  the  attendance  was  so  slack  that  it  was  im- 
possible for  a  self-respecting  orator  to  maintain  the  pre- 
tense that  he  was  in  any  way  persuading  his  colleagues. 
It  was  then  within  his  right,  if  joined  by  a  definite  num- 
ber of  others,  to  demand  a  call  of  the  House.  This  call 
was  made  by  a  sergeant-at-arms  and  his  deputies,  which 
force  was  for  the  time  increased  by  the  use  of  the  pages 
present  and  on  duty.  Each  was  given  a  list  of  absent 
members  with  their  addresses,  and  while  the  night  ses- 
sion took  a  short  recess  these  process  servers  moved 
throughout  the  city,  hunting  the  delinquents. 

On  one  of  these  calls  my  list  contained  the  name  of 
General  Butler.  He  had  a  residence  then  somewhere  in 
the  neighborhood  of  the  old  Arlington.  It  was  a  snowy 
night.  Although  his  house  was  brilliantly  illuminated, 
I  could  make  no  impression  with  the  front  doorbell. 


Electric  bells  were  then  unknown,  and  servants  were 
summoned  to  the  front  door  by  the  old  knob-and-wire 
bell-pull.  Failing  at  this  device,  I  went  to  the  side  of 
the  building.  The  house  was  on  the  corner,  a  protruding 
bay  window  some  eight  feet  from  the  ground  was  pro- 
tected by  a  stone  balustrade.  The  Douglas  Fairbanks 
scaling  pictures  had  not  at  that  time  been  run,  but  there 
were  personal  experiences  in  pantries  and  elsewhere  that 
helped  me  to  get  to  the  top  of  this  coping.  Inside  of  the 
brilliantly  lighted  room  stood  General  Butler  at  the  head 
of  a  table  surrounded  by  some  fifteen  or  twenty  mem- 
bers of  Congress,  many  of  whom  I  was  surprised  to  see 
in  such  amiable  relationship  after  their  hostile  attitude 
in  the  House.  The  food  had  disappeared.  Coffee  cups 
and  crumpled  napkins  were  on  the  cloth  and  a  fine  dis- 
play of  glassware.  Servants  who  should  have  answered 
the  doorbell  were  standing  against  the  wall;  all  were 
evidently  entertained. 

It  was  a  few  minutes  before  my  cold  tapping  on  the 
window  got  attention  above  the  words  and  laughter, 
and  then  like  Poe's  Raven  I  came  in  through  the  open 
window  with  my  unwelcome  message.  One  or  two  of 
the  members  got  up  as  if  to  obey  the  call,  but  on  the  ad- 
vice of  General  Butler  they  resumed  their  seats  and  I 
was  sent  back  to  report  progress.  At  that  time  the  rule 
of  the  House  imposed  a  fine  of  ten  dollars  for  a  failure 
to  respond  to  a  call.  The  next  day,  among  other  gentle- 
men, our  friends  of  the  Butler  dinner-table  passed  in  front 
of  the  Speaker  briefly  to  render  their  different  excuses. 

When  it  came  to  the  turn  of  General  Butler  himself 
he  smiled  up  at  the  presiding  officer,  and  waving  a  new 
ten-dollar  greenback  said:  "Mr.  Speaker,  there  is  my 



The  method  has  been  progressive.  To-day,  from 
Washington  to  Reno,  few  excuses  go  better. 

That  Congress  was  overwhelmingly  Republican.  In 
those  days  of  the  spoils  system  I  think  that  very  few 
Democrats  were  upon  the  appointive  list.  Certainly 
among  the  pages  not  any  besides  myself  was  there  at  the 
request  of  a  Democratic  delegation.  This  fact  humor- 
ously and  mildly  singled  me  out  for  as  much  attention 
from  the  Republican  members  as  from  any  of  the  mi- 
nority. One  Republican,  who  was  at  times  inclined  to 
wait  until  I  could  run  his  special  errand  for  him,  was 
Mr.  Ebon  C.  IngersoII,  of  Illinois,  familiarly  known  to 
his  friends  by  his  middle  name,  Clark,  which  is  what  his 
brother,  Colonel  Robert  G.  IngersoII,  called  him. 

Speaker  Elaine  was  rather  partial  to  Mr.  IngersoII  as 
a  chairman  when  the  House  resolved  itself  into  a  com- 
mittee of  the  whole.  As  this  temporary  presiding  officer 
it  was  his  job  to  listen  to  the  long  talks  often  made  only 
for  purposes  of  publicity  and  requiring  little  activity  on 
the  part  of  the  chairman.  As  the  season  advanced  and 
the  weather  grew  warmer  Mr.  IngersoII  more  than  once 
intrusted  to  me  the  delicate  mission  of  going  to  the 
restaurant  in  the  basement,  kept  at  that  time  by  a  mu- 
latto named  Downing,  and  bringing  back  to  him  one  of 
the  tall  mint  juleps  of  which  he  was  fond.  One  door  to 
the  Hall  of  Representatives  is  immediately  to  the  right 
of  the  Speaker's  desk.  By  reaching  this  through  what 
was  called  the  Speaker's  lobby  a  boy  could  pass  from  the 
door  up  four  or  five  marble  steps  to  the  Speaker,  com- 
pletely hidden  from  two-thirds  of  the  House,  and,  if  he 
moved  quietly,  almost  unnoticed  by  the  rest. 

Following  the  chairman's  careful  instructions  I  used 
to  wrap  the  glass  of  julep,  its  crown  of  green  and  its  pro- 


trading  straws  in  a  folded  newspaper  and  pass  it  to  him 
below  the  level  of  the  desk.  Here  was  a  shelf  on  which 
the  chairman  might  lay  a  book  of  reference  or  a  manu- 
script. It  was  sufficiently  depressed  from  the  top  of  the 
desk  to  admit  our  julep  glass. 

With  the  beverage  once  there,  Mr.  IngersoII  would 
make  one  or  two  disarming  passes  of  his  handkerchief 
across  his  face  and  then  sit  with  his  hand  over  his  mus- 
tache as  though  listening  to  the  flood  of  oratory  while 
the  handkerchief  fell  from  his  hand  to  the  desk-top  and 
masked  the  straws  that  he  manipulated. 

Clark  IngersoII  had  all  the  qualities  that  his  brother 
attributed  to  him  in  that  forever-memorable  eulogy, 
and  had  besides  a  humor  quite  as  keen  as  that  of  Colonel 
Bob  himself.  There  was  one  stormy  scene  growing  out 
of  a  clash  between  members,  and  with  incidental  unpar- 
liamentary language,  which  the  magic  of  his  humor  trans- 
muted. Some  of  the  terms  were  so  violent  that  seem- 
ingly disinterested  members  were  asking  for  a  rebuke 
from  the  chair. 

Mr.  IngersoII  evaded  one  or  two  demands,  but  when 
another  member  insisted  upon  his  ruling  upon  the  char- 
acter of  the  remarks  he  answered,  after  a  pause,  "The 
chair  decides  that  the  language  of  the  gentleman  was 
certainly  very" — then,  after  a  moment's  reflection  with 
a  search  for  the  word,  he  added — "pungent." 

This  amiable  characterization  made  everybody  laugh, 
and  out  of  the  uproar  there  grew  a  resumption  of  the 
business  and  a  tacit  dismissal  of  the  incident. 

These  men  were  then  emerging  from  the  bitterness  of 
the  Civil  War.  With  many  of  them  the  intense  emo- 
tional state  thereby  produced  still  existed  to  some  de- 
gree. Their  political  problem  was  the  reestablishment 


of  national  conditions,  as  all  nations  are  now  confronted 
with  the  reestablishment  of  order  in  the  world.  Some 
of  the  States  that  had  seceded  had  been  already  read- 
mitted to  the  Union  under  provisional  governments.  In 
that  session  Virginia,  Georgia,  Mississippi  and  Texas 
were  asking  to  come  back.  In  certain  sections  of  the 
South  recognized  government  was  under  negro  domina- 
tion, and  testimony  before  committees  was  burdened 
with  almost  unbelievable  stories  of  violence. 

A  most  bitter  speaker  against  the  South  was  Mr.  John 
A.  Bingham,  of  Ohio.  He  was  a  nervous  man,  with  a 
pale  face  that  resembled  the  current  pictures  of  Lord 
Alfred  Tennyson.  His  seat  was  in  the  front  row  of  desks 
immediately  facing  the  Speaker  and  near  the  steps  on 
which  the  page  boys  rested.  We  were  always  in  for  an 
almost  dime-novel  description  of  horrors  whenever  Mr. 
Bingham  began  upon  the  subject  of  the  unregenerate 
South  or  the  outrageous  Ku-KIux  Klan. 

One  of  the  most  collected  and  methodical  speakers  in 
that  Congress  was  Fernando  Wood,  of  New  York;  sel- 
dom eloquent,  never  stirring  that  I  can  recall,  but  with 
an  enamelled  precision  and  accuracy,  and  with  that  al- 
most invariable  note  of  regretful  finality  that  accom- 
panies the  public  utterances  of  our  own  Elihu  Root. 

Garfield's  style  was  orotund,  authoritative,  Mid- West- 
ern and  homely.  He  talked  easily,  often  with  one  hand 
in  his  pocket,  and  generally  with  a  kind  of  good  humor 
in  his  manner  that  would  have  been  completely  winning 
except  for  the  suspected  presence  of  a  condescension  not 
easily  separable  from  any  genial  reception  of  grave  topics. 

One  member  who  never  spoke  but  was  always  pointed 
out  to  the  visitors  was  the  ex-champion  prize-fighter, 
John  Morrissey,  of  New  York. 


Mr.  John  F.  Farnsworth,  of  Illinois,  who  wore  a  long 
beard  and  had  the  prairie  tone  in  his  vowels,  was  a  mix- 
ture of  revivalist  and  barker.  If  he  hadn't  preferred  to 
be  a  statesman  he  could  have  taken  a  couple  of  beaded 
squaws  and  a  band  wagon  and  made  an  equal  success 
anywhere  west  of  the  Mississippi  with  patent  medicine. 

And  speakin'  again  of  Injuns,  it  is  interesting  to  note 
the  debate  pro  and  con  on  the  measure  passed  at  that 
session  to  send  the  Indians  from  Kansas  to  other  reserva- 
tions and  to  remove  the  Osage  Indians  to  a  territory  that 
is  now  Oklahoma.  According  to  current  reports,  in  the 
present  year  of  1921,  each  of  these  Indians,  owing  to  the 
oil  struck  in  their  territory,  is  individually  worth  thirty 
thousand  dollars.  I  have  recently  seen  numbers  of  them 
riding  about  in  their  own  automobiles.  Another  legis- 
lative landmark  which  will  help  measure  the  rate  of  our 
progress  is  the  law  passed  at  that  session  to  put  a  tax 
on  brandy  made  in  this  country  from  apples,  peaches,  or 

I  heard  Proctor  Knott  deliver  his  celebrated  Duluth 
speech  in  January  of  that  session.  It  was  unquestion- 
ably the  most  famous  speech  of  the  Forty-first  Congress. 
Mr.  Knott  had  decidedly  the  Mark  Twain  manner  of 
the  conscious  humorist.  As  he  proceeded  with  his  speech 
and  gained  the  confidence  that  palpable  success  brings 
to  a  speaker,  he  grew  even  more  at  ease  and  his  man- 
nerisms more  pronounced.  In  appearance  he  had  what 
might  be  called  the  Civil  War  make-up — plenty  of  hair, 
worn  fairly  long,  parted  on  the  side,  and  a  mustache. 
The  Duluth  speech  ran  about  five  thousand  words,  and 
punctuated  as  it  was  by  the  laughter  of  his  great  audi- 
ence, laughter  growing  more  prolonged  and  hysterical 
as  he  progressed,  must  have  in  his  slow  manner  easily 


consumed  an  hour.  My  sponsor,  Mr.  Wells,  sat  very 
near  to  Mr.  Knott  and  the  two  were  friendly.  The  men 
in  that  section  of  the  House  probably  had  some  advance 
information  on  the  effort,  because  shortly  after  Mr. 
Knott  began  to  speak  page  boys  were  sent  in  various 
directions  to  call  in  absent  members  and  even  to  notify 
the  senators  at  the  other  end  of  the  Capitol. 

A  trip  to  the  Senate  was  among  my  assignments,  and 
I  made  it  in  great  haste  in  order  to  miss  as  little  as  pos- 
sible of  the  speech.  Ten  minutes  after  the  speech  began 
more  than  half  the  senators  were  in  the  Representative 
chamber;  clerks,  and  employees  had  left  the  committee 
rooms  and  supply  departments  and  crowded  into  the 
cloakroom.  The  galleries  were  full. 

Mr.  Knott  pronounced  the  name  "Duluth"  with  a 
caressing  coo  that  was  funny  the  first  time  and  grew 
irresistible  with  the  repetitions,  of  which  there  were  some 
forty-two.  The  Speaker  interrupted  him  when  his  time 
had  expired,  but  there  were  loud  calls  from  all  parts  of 
the  House  for  him  to  go  on,  and  in  the  absence  of  objec- 
tion he  did  so. 

His  ridicule  defeated  the  measure  against  which  he 
spoke,  which  was  to  construct  a  St.  Croix  and  Bayfield 
railroad,  but  his  ironical  references  to  the  future  of  the 
city  in  a  territory  of  wonderful  resources,  its  beauty  and 
future  greatness,  read  now  like  prophecy  instead  of  ridi- 

There  was  also  a  touch  of  antiquity  for  present-day 
readers  when  in  his  reference  to  possible  future  amend- 
ments to  the  Constitution  that  should  cover  the  growing 
greatness  of  this  Duluth  he  enumerated  supposititious 
Seventeenth,  Eighteenth,  and  Nineteenth  Articles,  but 
said  of  a  Sixteenth:  "It  is,  of  course,  understood  that 


it  is  to  be  appropriated  to  those  blushing  damsels  who 
are  day  by  day  beseeching  us  to  let  them  vote,  hold  office, 
drink  cocktails,  ride  a-straddle,  and  do  everything  else 
the  men  do." 

None  of  these  privileges  is  longer  in  debate. 

James  G.  Elaine  was  a  greater  man  at  that  end  of  the 
Capitol  Building  than  he  ever  became  in  the  Senate. 
The  active  work  of  the  larger  body  gave  finer  opportunity 
for  his  extraordinary  power.  I  have  seen  many  presid- 
ing officers,  but  not  any  who  was  his  equal  for  prompt- 
ness of  decision,  clarity  of  its  statement  or  vigor  of  its 
defense,  if  needed.  On  two  or  three  occasions,  when  a 
legislative  measure  was  before  the  House  on  which  he 
wished  to  express  himself  more  fully  than  would  have 
been  becoming  to  a  presiding  officer,  he  called  a  mem- 
ber to  the  chair  and  went  upon  the  floor  himself.  I  don't 
recall  his  equal  in  that  body  for  swift  and  forceful  state- 
ment of  his  views  and  aggressive  attack  upon  the  op- 

Of  all  the  orators  in  that  brilliant  galaxy,  however,  the 
idol  of  the  page  boys  was  John  A.  Logan,  whose  speeches 
did  not  read  so  well  as  those  of  more  than  one  other,  but 
he  was  personally  so  picturesque,  and  the  fact  that  he 
was  descended  from  Black  Hawk  and  showed  it  in  his 
tawny  skin  and  jet-black  hair,  gave  him  a  romantic  in- 
terest that  no  other  had.  He  had  a  fine  voice  and  an 
earnest  intensity  we  liked  to  believe  characteristic  of  the 
Indian,  with  the  added  fire  of  a  Spaniard  or  an  Italian. 
And  then  we  knew  of  him  as  Fighting  John  Logan  too. 

How  many  of  those  men  were  to  us  colossal  from  the 
nation's  use  of  them  as  symbols  of  power !  General 
Thomas  was  the  Rock  of  Chickamauga;  when  Blair 
joined  somebody  it  meant  that  food  for  an  army  had 


arrived;  when  Banks  was  to  move  against  Mobile  it 
was  thirty  thousand  men  that  were  moving,  not  alone 
that  tall,  scholarly-looking  man  in  the  second  row  to  the 
Speaker's  left;  when  Logan  joined  somebody  near  Cham- 
pion's Hill,  a  division  thereby  arrived;  the  enemy's  re- 
treat was  cut  off.  There  were  giants  in  those  days;  men 
more  interested  in  the  conformation  of  the  continent 
and  in  the  majesty  of  the  Constitution  than  in  the  dis- 
tribution of  garden-seeds. 

When  I  left  Washington  at  the  end  of  that  July  and 
started  back  for  Missouri  I  said  good-by  to  my  uncle- 
grandfather,  A.  W.,  never  to  see  him  again.  I  have  al- 
ways been  curious  to  know  what  prompted  his  parting 
gift  to  me.  It  was  made  with  considerable  impressment 
— a  plate  of  copper  about  eight  by  ten  inches  in  size, 
holding  in  bas-relief  in  the  smallest  agate  type  the  full 
text  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  set  around  a 
miniature  circular  medallion  reproduction  of  TrumbuII's 
picture  of  the  signing  of  the  document,  and  holding  in 
an  open  margin  of  about  an  inch  below  the  text  almost 
microscopic  but  most  accurate  bas-reliefs  of  the  auto- 
graphic signatures  to  the  document.  A  delicate  raised 
moulding  of  the  same  copper  framed  the  entire  plate. 
This  work  of  art  must  have  been  the  combination  of 
several  mechanical  and  manual  processes,  and  is  evi- 
dently one  of  several  copies.  Perhaps  there  are  elsewhere 
in  the  United  States  other  men  who  possess  this  pass- 
port and  by  its  virtue  belong  to  my  lodge. 

When  I  got  home  I  found  that  my  father  estimated 
more  highly  than  could  any  boy  of  my  age  the  events 
with  which  I  had  had  such  modest  association.  The 
more  bitter  rancor  of  the  Civil  War  was  gone;  I  had 
witnessed  the  long  session  of  the  Reconstruction  Con- 


gress;    the  seceding  states   had  come   again    into    the 

I  wonder  if  there  is  really  a  world  spirit  brooding  over 
all,  and  if  the  seemingly  disconnected  events  are  more 
wisely  associated  than  we  surmise.  A  mystic  that  au- 
tumn walking  through  his  quiet  path  at  Concord,  from 
which  a  specific  fruit  takes  its  name,  wrote  in  his  private 
diary  not  meant  for  publication  but  for  his  own  refresh- 
ment only,  "The  grape  is  fruitful  this  year  that  men 
may  be  genial  and  gentle  and  make  better  laws." 


In  October  of  1871,  three  months  after  my  return  from 
Washington,  the  St.  Louis  papers  were  filled  with  mount- 
ing reports  of  the  Chicago  fire.  Extras  issued;  the  people 
of  our  older  and  larger  sister  city,  moving  leisurely  in 
their  dominantly  Southern  fashion,  slowed  down  a  little 
further  to  discuss  the  alarming  news  of  destruction  in 
the  lake-shore  town,  and  then  waked  up  to  a  rescue  as 
characteristic  in  its  impulsive  generosity  and  dash  as  a 
cavalry  charge  by  Early.  My  interest  was  local  and  my 
contributions  of  curiosity  principally  obstructive. 

One  idol  of  our  St.  Louis  boys  was  H.  Clay  Sexton, 
the  head  of  the  fire  department.  Sexton  was  the  typical 
fire  chief  of  that  time:  red  leather  helmet  with  white- 
and-gold  escutcheon;  flannel  shirt;  broad  belt  and 
buckle;  trousers  in  high  boots.  He  carried  a  silver 
speaking-trumpet  presented  by  admiring  citizens  and 
insurance  companies.  But  behind  the  picturesque  make- 
up and  inside  the  burly  body  there  was  a  real  man  with 
a  brain.  Ahead  of  the  newspapers  the  telegraph  brought 
to  this  chief  constant  news  of  the  fire's  progress  and  the 
work  of  the  fighters;  and  then  suddenly  the  alarming 
report  that  the  flames  in  the  acres  of  wooden  houses  that 
made  the  Chicago  of  that  period  had  got  beyond  con- 
trol by  the  local  department.  The  water  system  was 
unequal  to  the  drain  upon  it.  Engines  able  to  work  and 
men  eager  to  do  so  were  without  hose  enough  or  water. 



Somewhere  over  a  St.  Louis  engine-house  Clay  Sexton 
was  working  like  a  co-ordinating  marshal,  anticipating 
the  ultimate  call — his  firemen,  his  material,  his  machines 
and  hose  reels,  the  broad-breasted,  long-legged  horses, 
the  stock  cars  ready  for  them  at  the  chutes,  the  flat  cars 
with  skids  and  blocks  and  ties  for  the  machines,  the  fast- 
est passenger  engines,  the  ablest  engineers  all  at  readi- 
ness and  attention.  Then  the  call. 

Daily  express-train  time  from  St.  Louis  to  Chicago 
was  nine  hours.  Clay  Sexton,  with  his  train  of  stock 
cars  and  flats,  with  nine  fire-engines,  reels,  horses,  and 
firemen,  went  up  there  in  a  fraction  over  five  hours.  The 
gallant  feature  was  the  readiness  and  the  run.  The  work 
after  arrival  was  prosaic  enough,  though  vital.  The  visit- 
ing engines  dipped  their  suckers  into  Lake  Michigan  and 
fed  water  by  constant  relay  to  the  local  men  more 
familiar  with  the  ground.  The  fact  that  two  hundred 
and  fifty  persons  met  death  in  that  fire  and  ninety-eight 
thousand  were  rendered  destitute  I  heard  many  times. 
The  oral  message  was  tame,  however,  and  fleeting  in 
effect  compared  with  the  picture  of  the  old  General  Lyon 
Number  4,  our  neighborhood  engine,  swinging  out  for 
her  part  in  that  enterprise  of  relief. 

Another  outstanding  feature  of  those  days  is  a  noon- 
hour  book  of  weekly  newspaper  illustrations  of  the 
Franco-Prussian  War,  none  now  definite  but  all  making 
a  vague  mental  frame  and  background  somehow  insepara- 
bly tied  to  an  otherwise  unconnected  statement  of  General 
Phil  Sheridan's.  The  general  had  seen  somewhat  of  the 
French  and  German  conduct  in  that  war.  As  the  result 
of  his  observations  he  thought  that  the  German  soldiers 
could,  on  equal  terms,  conquer  those  of  any  other  nation 
except  the  American ;  that  the  American's  superiority  lay 


in  initiative.  Other  soldiers  seemed  to  act  only  upon 
command;  the  American  also  obeyed,  but  added  to  his 
obedience  the  individual  activity  of  starting  frontier 
fashion  every  night  to  intrench  or  to  build  or  to  do  other 
essential  things  for  himself  without  waiting  for  the  word. 
In  Sheridan's  belief,  political  freedom  and  its  respon- 
sibility had  produced  a  better  unit.  Phil  should  have 
been  at  Chateau-Thierry.  Perhaps  he  was.  At  any 
rate,  his  commendation  of  individual  initiative  gave  it 
lasting  importance  in  my  small  decisions. 

I  hope  I  may  tell  of  another  trifle  that  will  amuse  a 
million  boys,  perhaps  mar  a  thousand  jackknives  and 
determine  one  or  two  embryo  James  McNeil  Whistlers. 
Halfway  up  the  steps  to  the  Capitol  dome  in  Washington 
there  used  to  be  a  door,  sometimes  ajar,  letting  to  a  room 
wherein  were  the  batteries  of  the  simple  electric  system 
of  1870.  If  a  boy  dipped  his  knife-blade  into  one  of  the 
many  jars  of  copperas  solution  that  stood  on  the  low 
shelves,  and  let  the  blade  dry  without  wiping  it,  the  steel 
in  appearance  turned  to  copper.  When  I  philanthropi- 
cally  tried  that  on  father's  knife  at  a  neighborhood  bat- 
tery in  St.  Louis  my  pride  was  tempered  by  his  explaining 
that  the  color  was  acquired,  not  unlike  many  a  later 
luster,  by  the  copper's  eating  into  the  steel  and  to  that 
slight  degree  dulling  its  edge. 

With  a  tolerant  wisdom  that  untiringly  tried  to  steer 
my  destructive  impulses  into  productive  channels,  he 
took  a  clean  blade  on  my  knife,  patiently  rubbed  it  in 
different  directions  with  a  piece  of  lithograph  crayon 
until  it  had  a  full  coating  of  dense  black  grease  over  it; 
then  with  one  point  of  a  broken  steel  pen  he  had  me  write 
my  name  through  the  black  field. 

To  this  writing  he  had  me  apply  a  few  drops  of  the 


fluid  and  let  it  stand  till  the  shining  letters  of  steel  bub- 
bled into  crusty  copper.  When,  after  two  or  three  min- 
utes, both  crayon  field  and  copper  ashes  were  washed 
off  the  written  name  was  there,  etched  into  the  blade  of 
the  owner's  knife. 

That  year  in  the  high  school  I  bit  a  score  of  autographs 
on  schoolmates'  knives.  Among  the  beneficiaries  in  the 
senior  grade  was  a  boy  named  Will  Harlow.  Harlow 
had  literary  ambitions,  a  hand-printing  press  with  a  six- 
by-eight  chase,  and  possessed  a  curling,  back-blown 
pompadour  that  should  have  had  an  Eton  collar  with 
it.  He  was  a  typical  RoIIo.  Aware  of  my  ability  to  do 
outline  drawings,  such  as  they  were,  and  seeing  in  this 
litho-crayon-and-copperas  combination  a  way  to  simple 
etching,  Harlow  proposed  the  publication  of  a  magazine. 
Together  we  undertook  it.  The  magazine  was  named 
Scratches  and  Sketches.  We  issued  five  numbers,  I  think, 
at  irregular  intervals,  approximately  a  fortnight,  with 
some  paid  ads — eight  pages  of  short  stories,  verse  and 
local  comment,  all  furnished  by  Harlow,  and  three  or 
four  pages  of  alleged  etchings  made  by  me. 

These  etchings  were  done  on  zinc  plates  bought  at  the 
tinsmith's,  laboriously  burnished  with  a  hand  burnisher 
by  me,  coated  with  lithograph  crayon,  drawn  with  a 
pen  and  bitten  with  a  saturated  solution  of  copperas. 
The  prints  were  made  on  superior  paper  as  inserted  etch- 
ings should  be,  at  a  professional  shop,  and  then  pasted 
into  the  letter-press  stuff. 

Subscriptions  were  few  despite  our  courageous  procla- 
mations, but  enough  copies  were  issued  to  embroil  Har- 
low and  me.  His  playful  comment  upon  our  ac- 
quaintances in  North  St.  Louis  met  with  several  demands 
for  retractions  and  apologies.  Some  real  enmities  were 


One  bellicose  warning  delivered  to  me  to  transmit  to 
Harlow,  who  was  keeping  out  of  sight,  as  grown-up  edi- 
tors are  said  sometimes  to  do,  carried  a  descriptive  word 
for  our  magazine  that  stuck.  The  complainant  was  one 
William  F.  Putnam,  a  fine  youngster,  who  became  in 
early  manhood  an  influential  miller  in  Cleveland,  where 
he  had  as  a  side  line  a  stable  of  trotters,  one  of  which  in 
fraternal  recollection  he  called  Gus  Thomas.  Billy  in 
our  St.  Louis  days  was  a  handy  boy  with  his  fists;  a  good, 
clean,  upstanding,  handsome  lad,  looking  the  world  in 
the  eye  as  I  am  sure  he  still  does. 

Holding  my  lapel  after  our  second  or  third  issue  he 
said,  "You  tell  Mr.  Harlow  that  if  he  ever  mentions  my 
name  in  his  damned  almanac  again,"  and  so  on. 

I  never  recovered  from  "almanac."  Nine  years  later 
in  the  playlet  of  "Editha's  Burglar"  I  had  the  burglar 
refer  by  that  term  to  the  paper  of  Editha's  papa,  and  I 
spoke  the  burglar's  line  myself  some  four  hundred  con- 
secutive times,  but  with  no  ultimate  relief. 

The  rector  of  Grace  Church  in  our  district  also  found 
some  ethical  flaws  in  our  unripened  policy.  These  and 
similar  incidents,  and  the  expense  account,  decided  Har- 
low's  mother,  who  was  a  widow  in  modest  circumstances, 
to  withhold  further  financial  support.  Some  years  later, 
when  for  a  partner's  guaranty  to  a  theatrical  manager 
the  sheriff  took  our  printing  office  in  Kansas  City  and  the 
ill  will  of  a  weekly  paper  that  languished  therein,  the 
funeral  wasn't  nearly  so  depressing  as  our  farewell  to  the 

In  writing  one's  recollections  for  publication  the  ex- 
perienced advise  cautious  utterance  concerning  living 
persons,  and  a  news  sense  that  shall  choose  as  subjects 
men  already  in  the  public  notice.  I  am  unaware  of  any 


notorious  interest  in  Frederick  W.  RuckstuII,  though  I 
am  not  ignorant  of  his  claim  upon  Fame  herself.  Mr. 
RuckstuII,  who  to-day  is  still  young  and  a  few  years  my 
senior,  is  the  author  of  that  Victory  monument  in  Ja- 
maica, Long  Island,  against  which  from  four  directions 
sober  motorists  used  to  drive  on  foggy  nights  until  the 
city  authorities,  after  the  manner  of  ruling  minds  in  nor- 
mal democracies,  concluded  that  four  iron  lamp-posts 
were  cheaper  than  numerous  rosewood  coffins,  and  there- 
upon set  up  a  cordon  of  strong  lights. 

That  Victory  identifies  Mr.  RuckstuII  for  the  sporting 
New  Yorker.  The  tourists  will  recall  his  beautiful  fe- 
male nude  of  Evening  in  the  American  Hall  of  Sculpture 
in  the  New  York  Metropolitan  Museum.  Pennsylvania 
has  his  equestrian  Hartranft  in  front  of  her  capitol;  St. 
Louis  his  decorative  Mercury  and  eagle  in  Portland 
Place;  and  the  Southland  his  cavalier,  General  Wade 
Hampton,  and  four  or  five  Confederate  monuments. 
Washington  and  other  cities  have  from  his  studio  other 
mature  and  classical  performances. 

RuckstuII,  an  Alsatian  by  birth,  was  brought  to  St. 
Louis  by  his  parents  at  the  age  of  two.  Fifteen  years 
later  he  attracted  the  attention  of  my  father.  Into  the 
profound  talk  of  this  wise  man  of  forty-three  and  that 
positive  philosopher  of  seventeen  I  gradually  won  my 
way.  My  father  respected  me — either  already  or  still; 
I  had  to  prove  it  to  Ruck.  I  wish  to  mark  the  boy  Ruck- 
stuII now  in  this  year  1871,  when  he  first  comes  into 
my  ken,  because  he  still  is  there  in  1921,  the  least  deviat- 
ing note  in  this  revolving  rug  of  life.  Whenever  after 
any  sentimental  vertigo  I  can  first  get  my  feet  on  the 
floor  and  partly  retard  the  vibrating  patterns  in  the  car- 
pet and  on  the  wall-paper,  as  soon  as  I  can  locate  Ruck 


amongst  them  the  rest  begin  to  orient  and  grow  less 

In  appearance  he  is  now  as  gray  as  Senator  Lodge  and 
as  bald  as  Sir  Oliver.  When  I  first  saw  him  he  was  black- 
haired,  black-eyed,  athletic.  It  may  be  that  some  slight 
changes  have  also  taken  place  in  my  make-up.  In  1894, 
when  the  caricature  of  him  facing  p.  326  was  drawn  in 
our  guest-book  at  New  Rochelle  by  lamplight,  he  was 
still  dark-haired,  but  had  lost  some  locks,  as  indicated. 

Dear  old  Frederic  Remington,  who  sat  by  on  that 
Christmas  night  and  looked  on  and  laughed  all  through 
the  execution,  said:  "'You're  not  only  getting  a  portrait 
of  Ruck  but  of  Ruck's  opinion  of  Ruck." 

Father  had  heard  young  RuckstuII  speak  in  what  now 
would  be  a  Boy  Scout  debating  society,  but  was  then 
an  Episcopal  attempt  to  divert  the  gang  spirit  of  our 
North  St.  Louis  incorrigibles.  Concurrently  with  this 
Grace  Church  Debating  Society  there  was  organized  a 
Marion  Place  Dramatic  Club,  for  which  I  wrote  my  first 
full  evening's  play,  named  "Alone."  Our  leading  lady  was 
Mittens  Willet,  who  subsequently  became  the  juvenile 
lead  for  John  McCuIIough  and  the  wife  of  Henry  Aveling, 
a  leading  man  of  the  late  seventies.  While  Mittens  was 
with  us  her  leading  man  was  Robert  Cornell,  earlier  men- 
tioned as  a  Jefferson  City  page  boy.  Cornell  did  not 
become  the  greatest  real-estate  agent  in  St.  Louis,  but 
he  would  have  been  an  ornament  to  the  American  stage. 

That  year  to  the  old  Olympic  Theatre  in  St.  Louis — 
not  the  present  spacious  house  on  the  same  site,  but  a 
Douglas  Jerrold  type  of  playhouse,  with  pit,  elevated 
horseshoe  dress  circle,  family  circle  and  gallery — there 
came  a  fine  old  character  actor  named  John  Dillon,  hus- 
band of  Louise  Dillon  of  later  fame.  Dillon  played  O'Cal- 


lahan  in  Bernard's  play,  "On  His  Last  Legs,"  manifestly 
adapted  from  Moliere's  "  Le  Medecin  Malgre  Lui."  Dil- 
lon's performance  was  a  masterpiece  of  finish  in  technic, 
rich  in  byplay  and  pause,  and  as  liberal  an  education  in 
what  added  expression  can  give  to  mere  lines  as  is  Frank 
Bacon's  "Lightnin'." 

Both  Cornell  and  Mittens,  superior  in  serious  work  as 
they  were,  insisted  that  this  comedy  part  of  O'Callahan 
was  for  me.  The  play  was  even  then  a  fifteen-cent 
yellow-back,  available  to  any  buyer.  We  gave  it  many 
times  in  parlors,  in  the  parsonage,  in  the  hall  over  Stur- 
geon Meat  Market,  and  on  the  road.  I  shall  recur  to 
that  compact  little  two-act  farce;  once  when  it  pays  a 
company  out  of  Canada  and  once  again  when  in  ample 
disguise  it  rescues  Mr.  De  Wolf  Hopper  from  a  temporary 
lapse  and  restores  him  to  Broadway  and  opulence  and 
matrimony.  And  when  I  do  so  perhaps  such  of  my 
youngish  readers  as  continue  to  trail  may  note  a  con- 
nection between  those  grown-up  enterprises,  running  in 
the  Hopper  instance  into  a  fortune,  and  these  small  be- 
ginnings, like  learning  in  amateur  days  a  good  play  well. 
They  may  infer  that  the  money  side  of  the  return  is  of 
the  lesser  worth;  that  the  big  value  is  the  self-expression 
obtained;  that  the  debating  society,  the  dramatic  club, 
the  singing  school,  the  art  class,  the  pursuits  that  invite 
brain  to  the  finger-tips,  and  to  become  articulate,  are 
the  interests  that  make  life  eloquent.  They  may  even 
come  to  have  opinions  and  to  believe  that  the  amount 
of  self-expression  encouraged  and  protected  in  any  coun- 
try is  the  measure  of  liberty  in  that  country. 

I  shall  tell  stories  of  these  adolescent  years  only  when 
the  incidents  are  influential  in  later  results,  not  simply 
important  to  me  privately,  but  with  some  color  of  general 


interest  or  possibility  of  serviceable  application.  AH 
children  of  parents  in  modest  circumstances  have  their 
trials.  It  is  only  the  little  rich  who  have  the  right  to  say 
with  a  great  American: 

"Am  I  not  too  protected  a  person?  Am  I  not  de- 
frauded of  my  best  culture  in  the  loss  of  those  gymnastics 
which  manual  labor  and  the  emergencies  of  poverty  con- 

Therefore,  that  I  took  a  job  to  write  and  deliver  freight 
notices  to  St.  Louis  consignees  for  the  Vandalia  office, 
and  had  to  be  in  East  St.  Louis  to  receive  waybills  from 
an  incoming  train  at  7  A.  M.,  is  not  important.  Many 
another  boy  of  fourteen  years,  three  miles  from  work, 
to  which  he  must  go  on  foot,  is  called  an  hour  and  a  half 
before  the  shop  time.  If  the  call  is  5.30  and  the  season 
winter,  he  will  dress  by  candle-light;  the  kitchen  will 
glow  with  the  genial  presence  of  the  stove;  and  the  smell 
will  be  domestic  and  stimulating,  to  the  capacity  of  the 
family  purse. 

But  not  every  boy  will  have  a  frozen  Mississippi  to 
walk  over,  with  the  Great  Dipper  half  upside  down  in 
the  sparkled  sky,  holding  its  long  pointers  to  the  North 
Star  on  his  left,  and  underneath  on  the  massive  ice  an 
endless  train  of  coal-wagons  with  four  horses  to  each, 
crunching  its  way  to  the  Illinois  side,  while  off  to  the 
right  of  his  path  the  piers  of  the  Eads  Bridge,  then  to 
be  the  eighth  wonder  of  the  world,  are  as  yet  only  a  few 
feet  above  the  river's  level,  their  great  dam  breakwaters 
prowed  like  battleships  against  the  frozen  current,  whose 
first  flying  charges  of  winter  have  piled  like  sculptured 
foam,  deck  high,  against  these  defenders.  Half-way  out 
on  that  mile-wide  ice  was  a  barroom  with  a  red-hot  can- 
non stove,  where  a  cold  driver  could  run  ahead  of  his 


team,  which  would  keep  its  place  in  the  plodding  train, 
and  get  a  drink  and  a  thaw  and  pick  up  his  wagon  as  it 
went  by. 

To  see  the  chance  for  that  squatter  barroom,  to  fore- 
see that  endless  train  of  wagon  traffic,  and  a  day  after 
the  ice  quit  moving  to  be  out  there  with  boards  and  nails ; 
with  that  degree  of  skill  and  attack  and  the  sporting 
willingness  to  wager  this  lumber  and  labor  and  a  stock 
of  whiskey  against  the  changing  elements,  indicated  a 
vanguard  imagination  quite  kindred  to  that  which 
planned  and  set  up  the  cantilever  double  span  at  St. 
Louis  or  devised  and  drove  the  jetties  at  the  Delta  below 
New  Orleans.  The  difference  was  the  trained  engineer's 
mathematics  that  Eads  possessed  and  that  Kelly  had 
never  had  the  chance  to  get. 

James  Buchanan  Eads,  who  died  in  the  Bahamas  in 
his  sixty-seventh  year,  was  born  on  the  Indiana  prairie 
in  1820.  When  he  was  forty-one  he  designed  and  built 
that  Mississippi  fleet  of  ironclads  and  monitors  without 
which  Grant's  western  campaign  might  not  have  been 
so  successful.  I  met  him  when  I  was  a  young  man  and 
he  about  sixty.  I  remember  his  modest  and  gentle  bear- 
ing, and  the  deference  that  the  important  men  of  that 
occasion  instinctively  paid  him. 

The  years  between  that  date  and  the  earlier  winter 
when  I  trudged  twice  each  day  past  the  looming  piers 
of  the  Eads  Bridge  had  been  wonderfully  filled  with  in- 
cident for  me.  To  relate  those  incidents  would  be  un- 
pardonable trespass  upon  type  and  eyesight.  An  earlier 
writer  recording  his  landlady's  appeal  to  sympathy  by  a 
recital  of  her  history  says,  "  It  was  as  though  a  grain  of 
wheat  that  had  been  ground  and  bolted  had  tried  to  in- 
dividualize itself." 


But  flour  that  grades  up  to  the  market  sample  might 
quite  properly,  if  it  could,  say  whether  the  way  of  grind- 
ing had  been  of  the  old  upper-and-nether  millstones  kind 
or  the  roller  system,  and  might  with  equal  propriety 
claim  the  nutritive  percentage  obtained  by  the  process. 

I  recently  heard  a  Yale  professor  refer  to  newspapers 
as  destructive  of  thought.  He  had  in  mind  the  gossipy 
hours  spent  in  their  reading,  and  the  dissipation  of  nearly 
all  serious  attention  on  the  part  of  those  addicted  to 
them.  Some  day  an  equal  censor  may  attack  the  week- 
lies, and  if  we  guilty  contributors  and  readers  can  here 
and  there  point  to  a  paragraph  of  right  intent  and  per- 
haps helpful  issue,  we  may  quit  the  field  retreating  in 
good  order  and  not  in  panic  rout. 

Will  it  not  be  an  orderly  method  if,  reporting  myself 
a  man  at  nineteen  and  omitting  the  hurtful  things,  I 
tell  those  physical  experiences  that  built  a  margin  of 
muscular  gain;  and  if,  eliminating  the  wasteful  lures 
and  attractions,  I  recount  the  better  mental  interests 
that  won  out  for  such  equipment  as  has  served  in  a  pro- 
fession that  is  without  curriculum  or  diploma;  and  if  I 
can  find  the  skill  to  do  so  without  offending,  may  I  not 
imply  or  hint  the  developing  factors  in  that  third  ele- 
ment of  human  tissue  which  we  call  spiritual? 

Somebody  said  that  the  military  victories  of  England 
were  won  on  the  cricket  field.  I  believe  a  right  American 
soldier  is  as  much  better  than  a  similar  English  soldier  of 
equal  training  and  experience  as  baseball  is  better  than 
cricket.  I  wish  some  alchemy  could  give  us  the  percent- 
age of  baseball  that  was  in  the  Argonne  victories.  I 
think  the  training  that  equips  a  boy  on  the  diamond, 
with  all  the  bases  filled,  to  pick  up  a  batted  grounder 
and  without  a  fraction  of  a  second's  wait  to  put  it  to  the 


right  spot  is  as  fine  a  preparation  for  the  market,  the 
bar,  the  pulpit,  the  forum,  the  surgical  clinic — especially 
the  surgical  clinic — and  the  battle-field  as  any  physical 
exercise  in  the  world;  and  yet  if  I  had  to  choose  as  one 
who  knew  both  between  baseball  and  boxing  I'd  tell  my 
boy  to  box — and  I'm  writing  these  recollections  for  boys. 
I  hope  the  girls,  too,  will  like  them,  but  I  know  a  good 
deal  less  about  girls.  With  the  fellows  past  forty — yes, 
say  past  thirty — I  don't  expect  to  change  a  vote.  Mr. 
Franklin  Haven  Sargent,  president  of  the  American 
Academy  of  Dramatic  Arts,  asked  me  some  years  ago  to 
suggest  any  additional  course  for  his  pupils. 

I  said,  "Teach  them  to  box." 

Mr.  Sargent  was  then  past  thirty.  Before  I  offered 
that  advice  I  had  found  in  several  years  of  professional 
rehearsals  that  men  and  women,  self-conscious  on  the 
stage,  were  so  principally  on  account  of  their  hands. 
There  is  the  same  embarrassment  in  some  public 
speakers.  The  boxer  is  free  from  that;  to  see  his  hand 
in  front  of  him  in  an  instinctive  gesture  does  not  fill  him 
with  sudden  fear,  and  if  the  hand  as  placed  stands  for 
some  mental  attitude  he  is  at  ease  in  leaving  it  there  as 
long  as  he  asks  attention  to  that  fact.  The  most  grace- 
ful man  in  the  use  of  his  hands  on  the  stage  thirty  years 
ago  was  Maurice  Barry  more,  who  had  been  the  champion 
amateur  boxer  of  England.  One  of  the  most  graceful 
to-day  is  Eddie  Foy,  another  boxer.  I  have  never  in 
many  talks  with  William  Faversham  mentioned  the 
subject,  but  I  am  confident  that  he  was  a  skilful  boxer 
in  his  younger  days. 

My  father  was  a  boxer,  and  despite  mother's  most 
feminine  protests  he  began  to  teach  me  the  art  when  he 
had  to  sit  on  a  low  chair  to  make  my  level.  After  I  was 


fourteen  there  was  never  a  time  when  I  was  not  at  least 
part  owner  of  a  set  of  boxing  gloves.  Father's  persis- 
tence in  teaching  me  may  seem  trivial,  but  will  it  take 
on  value  if  I  can  show  a  valid  connection  between  it  and 
the  important  diplomatic  communications  of  others?  I 
fancy  I  shall  do  that  a  little  later. 

There  were  two  youngsters  with  whom  I  learned  much 
in  sparring.  The  first  and  most  constant  one  was  Charles 
A.  Beamer,  now  a  merchant  in  St.  Louis  and  a  man  ac- 
tive in  high  Masonic  circles.  Charley  had  a  very  effec- 
tive right,  and  two  or  three  times  a  week  used  to  leave 
my  face  looking  like  an  August  sunset.  But  better  than 
his  right  was  his  great  good  humor,  and  I  learned  from 
him  as  much  as  from  all  others  that  the  control  of  one's 
temper,  a  prevailing  good-nature,  was  one  object  of  every 

From  the  Vandalia  office  when  I  was  fourteen  and  the 
St.  Louis  Transfer  Company  when  I  was  fifteen  years  of 
age,  I  went  to  the  old  St.  Louis,  Kansas  City,  and  North- 
ern Railroad  at  sixteen.  The  work  was  principally  on 
the  freight  platforms  and  in  the  freight-yard  as  a  clerk. 
The  platform  men,  the  switchmen,  the  engineers  and 
firemen  of  that  period  were  almost  exclusively  Irish. 
The  play  of  our  resting  intervals  was  boxing.  As  I  de- 
veloped and  grew  in  the  exercise  my  opponents  were 
truckmen,  trainmen,  coal-shovellers,  and  mechanics— 
none  of  them  spoiled  by  pampering.  In  that  K.  C.  &  N. 
yard  was  the  second  lad  I  refer  to,  one  OIlie  Crockett,  as 
handsome  and  as  continually  smiling  as  a  lithograph  of 
Douglas  Fairbanks. 

Once  in  the  switch  shanty  in  my  nineteenth  year  this 
debonair  youngster,  half  a  head  shorter  than  myself, 
knocked  me  out  with  an  eight-ounce  glove.  A  report 


of  it  can  be  defended  as  a  reply  to  the  gentlefolk  who 
decry  the  brutality  of  the  sport.  On  that  occasion  no- 
thing described  my  own  sensation  so  accurately  as  a  line 
in  the  George  Ade  pugilistic  Fable  in  Slang,  that  "some- 
body turned  off  the  daylight."  When  I  came  to  I  was 
looking  into  Crockett's  smiling  face  and  wondering  only 
what  had  interrupted  our  fun. 

In  later  years  and  fuller  manhood  I  had  some  pro- 
fessional mates.  I  never  got  any  medals,  but  I  received 
consoling  compliments.  Bob  Farrell,  a  lightweight  who 
had  fought  a  couple  of  good  old-time  bare-knuckle 
matches  with  Billy  Edwards,  the  champion  whom  the 
old  Hoffman  House  patrons  will  remember,  was  among 
the  number.  Let  me  join  these  references  pertinently. 
One  night  after  he  had  lost  the  championship  to  Fitz- 
simmons,  Jim  Corbett  was  one  of  fifty  guests  at  a  dinner 
to  Mr.  Otis  Skinner  in  a  Chicago  hotel.  Both  he  and  I 
had  been  called  upon  and  had  spoken  and  Corbett  had 
temporarily  taken  a  seat  next  to  Otis  for  a  laughing  ex- 
change with  him. 

Seeing  the  intimacy  of  the  two  men,  I  took  the  same 
chair  when  Corbett  left  it  and  expressed  to  Otis  my  ad- 
miration for  Corbett's  talk.  I  finished  my  comment  by 
saying  with  stage-manager  bumptiousness,  "I  could 
make  a  speaker  of  that  fellow." 

Mr.  Skinner  laughed  more  immoderately  at  this  than 
either  its  conceit  or  its  improbability  called  for,  and  then 
explained  that  Corbett  had  come  there  the  moment  be- 
fore to  say  of  me,  "  I  could  make  a  fighter  of  that  fellow." 

Mr.  Corbett  was  unaware  both  of  my  stale  years  and 
my  timidity;  but  that  my  estimate  of  him  was  right  his 
finished  and  artistic  ability  as  a  public  speaker  to-day 
is  proof. 


Professional  baseball  of  the  middle  seventies  differed 
materially  from  that  of  to-day.  It  was  not  less  rigorous 
or  less  athletic;  in  some  respects  it  was  more  so.  The 
old-fashioned  pitched  ball,  which  had  more  speed  than 
would  be  believed  by  one  who  had  not  seen  the  profes- 
sional pitcher  deliver  it,  was  giving  way  to  the  under- 
hand throw,  which  was  probably  quite  as  fast  as  the 
best  delivery  now.  No  catcher,  however,  wore  a  padded 
glove  or  mask.  Little  red-haired  Miller,  the  first  catcher 
of  the  St.  Louis  Browns,  wore  on  his  left  hand  an  ordi- 
nary buckskin  glove  with  the  fingers  cut  off;  his  right 
hand  was  bare.  His  face  had  no  protection;  there  was 
no  padding  over  his  body  or  guards  over  his  shins.  Dur- 
ing the  second  season,  facing  Bradley,  he  introduced  the 
use  of  a  rubber  wedge  about  the  size  of  a  domino,  which 
he  held  between  his  teeth  and  let  protrude  slightly  from 
his  lips.  This  was  suggested  by  a  catcher  on  another 
nine  having  had  the  dental  processes  broken  by  a  foul 
tip,  and  taken  by  the  Harvard  College  catcher,  Horatio 
S.  White,  later  dean  of  the  university. 

In  those  days  a  batter  had  the  right  to  call  for  a  high 
or  a  low  ball,  and  the  pitcher  was  required  to  put  it  above 
or  below  his  waist,  according  to  his  demand.  Moreover, 
a  pitcher  once  in  the  box  went  through  the  nine  innings, 
or  if  changed  was  changed  for  some  other  member  of  the 
nine  whom  he  replaced  in  his  position  from  the  in  or  out 
field.  Generally  a  third  baseman  or  a  fielder  was  en- 
gaged for  his  ability  as  a  change-pitcher.  One  or  two 
substitutes  attended  the  game,  but  they  went  in  only 
when  a  man  was  put  out  by  a  physical  injury,  as  they 
come  in  now  in  a  football  game. 

We  were  very  proud  of  our  St.  Louis  Browns,  and 
equally  jealous  of  the  Chicago  White  Sox.  One  never 


gets  this  partisanship  out  of  the  blood.  Only  last  Sun- 
day the  sculptor,  RuckstuII,  now  sixty-eight,  and  sunk 
deep  in  the  hollow  of  a  library  leather  chair  from  which 
he  was  freely  reading  Montaigne's  archaic  French,  paused 
at  some  mention  of  memory  and  said:  "What  a  heaven- 
sent gift  a  good  memory  is  I"  And  then,  with  an  accus- 
ing challenge,  "Can  you  name  the  whole  nine  of  the  first 
St.  Louis  league  team  when  they  won  that  first  series 
from  Chicago  in  1874?" 

And  trying  to  beat  each  other  to  it,  we  alternated  and 
interfered  and  reached  a  flushed  crescendo  in  a  run  of 
competing  explosions,  telling:  "Bradley,  pitch;  Miller, 
catch;  Dehlman,  Bannon,  Hogue  on  bases;  Dickey 
Pierce  at  short;  and  in  the  field?  Cuthbert,  Chapman, 
and — and  Haight." 

But  we  couldn't  remember  Chicago.  We  remembered 
the  whiskers  on  some  of  those  Lake  Front  athletes,  as 
luxuriant  as  those  now  worn  only  by  the  Cough  Drop 
Brothers.  And  all  the  time  the  sculptor  was  command- 
ing attention  with  a  hand  on  which  the  hypnotic  feature 
was  an  ossified  contusion  of  the  first  phalange  of  the 
little  finger,  pitched  to  him  on  our  old  railroad  nine  of 
that  epoch. 

A  third  gymnastic  field  is  one  to  be  noted  but  not 
recommended.  In  the  seven  years  amidst  the  freight- 
cars  and  switch  engines  one  acquires  the  average  brake- 
man's  ability  to  get  on  and  off  a  moving  train.  Twenty 
years  after  I  had  left  the  service  I  was  still  annoyed  if  a 
street-car  stopped  or  even  checked  its  speed  to  let  me 
either  board  or  leave  it,  and  then  one  day  in  New  York 
as  a  Broadway  car  passed  the  Empire  Theatre,  which 
was  my  destination,  I  stepped  from  its  platform  onto 
the  wet  asphalt  as  gracefully  as  the  president  of  the  con- 


doctors'  brotherhood  could  do  it,  slipped  to  a  sitting 
posture,  ruined  a  pair  of  fifteen-dollar  trousers,  and  broke 
my  record.  After  thirty-four  it's  a  good  plan  to  watch 
your  step.  Right  here  I  could  possibly  say  something 
analogous  about  political  platforms,  but  the  times  are 
hard  enough  as  it  is. 



My  interests  and  ambitions  were  threefold — poetry, 
painting,  and  the  theatre.  Let  us  try  to  agree  about 
poetry.  Poetry  is  the  feeling  that  there  is  soul  behind 
all  form;  such  feeling  is  not  religion,  but  it  is  the  source 
of  religion.  The  difference  between  poetry  and  fact  is 
like  a  sailor's  difference  between  the  North  Star  and 
lighthouses.  The  lighthouse  marks  the  irregular  and 
charted  coast.  The  North  Star  fixes  a  permanent  di- 
rection. Now  wait  a  minute !  You  boy  in  Cheyenne  or 
Manistee  or  Talladega,  and  you  men  with  blue  pencils,  I'm 
trying  to  tell  something;  nothing  too  highbrow  for  a 
boy  that  is  allowed  to  sit  up  after  supper — and  the  some- 
thing is  useful. 

A  capacity  for  poetic  feeling  is  the  receiving  end  for 
all  those  messages  throughout  life  that  the  recurring 
seasons,  the  grass  and  leaves,  the  winds  and  clouds,  the 
stars,  the  nostril-dilating  odors  of  the  fields,  the  hum  of 
insects  and  the  sound  of  ocean  waves  are  trying  to  get 
through  to  us.  The  fogs  of  the  rough  surfaces  on  which 
we  ride  obscure  and  hide  the  polar  direction  of  the  poetic 
call,  and  we  move  along  the  prudent  shore  line  and  sound- 
ings of  supply  and  demand  and  cent  per  cent,  but  the 
refreshing  reaches  are  when  the  star  is  now  and  then  in 

This  occasional  glimpse  through  the  clouds,  which  is 
poetry,  has  been  appraised  by  William  James,  our  de- 



lightful  philosopher.  It  is  worth  getting  a  little  closer 
to  the  lamp;  reading  very  carefully;  pausing  to  look  up 
at  the  framed  photograph  of  mother  and  father  when 
they  were  first  married;  and  then  slowly  reading  again. 
It  is  from  his  chapter  on  the  "Mystical  Faculty'*: 

"Most  of  us  can  remember  the  strangely  moving  power 
of  passages  in  certain  poems  read  when  we  were  young, 
irrational  doorways  as  they  were  through  which  the  mys- 
tery of  fact,  the  wildness  and  the  pang  of  life,  stole  into 
our  hearts  and  thrilled  them.  The  words  have  now  per- 
haps become  mere  polished  surfaces  for  us;  but  lyric 
poetry  and  music  are  alive  and  significant  only  in  propor- 
tion as  they  fetch  these  vague  vistas  of  a  life  continuous 
with  our  own,  beckoning  and  inviting,  yet  ever  eluding 
our  pursuit.  We  are  alive  or  dead  to  the  eternal  inner 
message  of  the  arts  according  as  we  have  kept  or  lost 
this  mystical  susceptibility." 

During  the  years  leading  to  and  including  my  nine- 
teenth I  not  only  read  poetry;  I  learned  it  by  rote  when 
it  appealed  to  me,  and  I  recited  it.  There  is  no  wish  to 
compete  with  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau  in  self-abasement, 
but  I  did  recite  it,  in  public,  at  church  festivals  and  the 
like.  I  don't  defend  the  term  "festivals,"  but  the  his- 
toric fact  is  that  they  were  so  called.  Once  when  my 
friend  James  Whitcomb  Riley  and  Bill  Nye  were  jointly 
lecturing,  Riley,  who  was  nervous  at  the  game,  peeped 
through  the  curtain  before  beginning  in  a  little  Minnesota 
town,  and  then  hurried  to  Nye,  who  was  still  adjusting 
his  white  tie  in  the  dressing-room. 

"Bill!"  he  exclaimed.  "There  are  only  about  twenty 
people  in  the  house!" 

"I  can't  understand  that,"  Nye  answered.  "We've 
never  been  here  before." 


And  now  with  the  confession  that  I  recited  on  these 
church  occasions  I  want  to  plead  that  I  was  paid  to  do 
so,  and  that  sometimes  I  got  return  dates. 

Noting  this  disposition  to  memorize  verses,  my  father 
said  to  me,  "What  you  fill  your  head  with  in  that  fashion 
now  will  stay  with  you  for  a  long  while.  It  is  a  good 
plan  to  select  the  best." 

I  tried  to  keep  his  advice  in  view.  The  old  McGuffey 
School  Readers,  it  seems  to  me,  were  well-chosen  selec- 
tions. They  ranged  from  Shakespeare  to  Patrick  Henry 
and  Webster,  and  included  such  sonorous  stuff  as 
Macaulay's  and  such  gentleness  as  Whittier's.  In  the 
full  editions  of  the  poets  I  devoured  Tom  Moore,  Scott, 
Burns,  Longfellow,  Bryant,  Tennyson,  Keats,  and  others. 
The  inference  might  be  that  this  crowded  out  the  trash, 
but  it  didn't.  Nothing  is  so  omnivorous  as  the  mind  of 
a  growing  boy  bitten  with  the  theatre  and  romance. 

Before  we  quit  the  subject  of  poetry  I  want  to  say  to 
those  who  admired  "Ivanhoe"  and  "Marmion,"  and 
other  thrilling  things  by  their  author  that  Sir  Walter 
Scott  once  said  nothing  had  so  influenced  him  through- 
out his  life  as  four  lines  of  verse  in  a  poem  called  "Cum- 
nor  Hall,"  by  William  Julius  Mickle,  a  Scot,  who  died 
when  Walter  was  seventeen  years  old. 

"The  dews  of  summer  night  did  fall, 

The  moon  (sweet  regent  of  the  sky) 
Silver'd  the  walls  of  Cumnor  Hall, 

And  many  an  oak  that  grew  thereby." 

For  Walter  Scott  those  words  never  became  mere 
polished  surfaces,  but  remained  always  alive  and  held 
their  strangely  moving  and  beckoning  power.  "And 
many  an  oak  that  grew  thereby."  Change  that  line  to 


"And  twenty  oaks  that  grew  thereby,"  and  see  how  the 
fact  of  the  definite  numeral  clips  the  wings  of  your  in- 
vited fancy.  That  suggestion  is  to  the  boy  and  girl. 
Dear  papa,  whom  the  angels  must  excuse  because  he  is 
so  busy  that  he  cannot  leave  the  store,  is  asked  to  remem- 
ber the  regretful  words  of  that  successful  scientist, 
Charles  Darwin,  who,  looking  back  in  his  seventieth 
year,  said 

If  I  had  my  life  to  live  again  I  would  have  made  a  rule  to  read 
some  poetry  and  listen  to  some  music  at  least  once  every  week;  for 
perhaps  the  parts  of  my  brain  now  atrophied  would  thus  have  been 
kept  alive  through  use.  The  loss  of  these  tastes  is  a  loss  of  happiness 
and  may  possibly  be  injurious  to  the  intellect  and  more  probably 
to  the  moral  character,  by  enfeebling  the  emotional  part  of  our  na- 

Some  great  editors  have  read  those  lines  of  Darwin, 
and  grown  thoughtful  about  them. 

In  my  wish  to  write  for  the  theatre,  my  father  thought 
I  would  meet  with  fewer  obstacles  in  the  degree  that  I 
knew  the  theatre  itself  behind  the  curtain.  I  saw  no 
betraying  twinkle  in  his  eye  as  he  talked  to  me  about 
it,  but  he  was  a  person  of  cultivated  self-control.  He 
reminded  me  quite  seriously  how  Shakespeare  had  been 
an  actor,  and  had  begun  to  write  his  plays  from  that 
standpoint.  He  told  me  of  Moliere  and  of  others  that  I 
have  forgotten,  but  particularly  of  Boucicault,  so  that 
he  built  up  a  fair  determination  in  my  mind  to  get  all 
the  experience  I  could.  In  the  absence  of  a  professional 
association  he  approved  of  the  amateur  work,  always 
cautioning  me  that  it  would  have  some  features  that 
would  have  to  be  unlearned. 

Our  St.  Louis  amateur  theatricals  soon  took  on  a  semi- 


professional  tone.  Those  were  the  days  of  the  Jay  Gould 
ownership  of  railroads.  The  enginemen  were  already 
organized  in  discontent;  the  trainmen  were  following 
their  example.  The  managements  were  anxious  and  con- 
ciliatory. So  whenever  the  conductors,  looking  for  ways 
and  means,  invited  our  club  to  play  for  their  "benefits" 
at  Moberly,  the  headquarters  of  our  division,  the  super- 
intendent promptly  passed  our  little  company;  some 
other  influence  fixed  us  with  the  Pullman  people.  Great 
occasions,  those,  with  all  expenses  paid;  a  full  house 
secured  by  the  tickets  the  trainmen  sold  weeks  ahead; 
the  local  volunteer  band  at  the  depot  when  we  arrived; 
the  big  posters  on  the  opera-house  walls;  the  selected 
orchestra  that  had  just  doubled  in  brass;  and  in  front 
every  shopkeeper,  barber,  saloonist,  hotelkeeper,  attor- 
ney, and  family  doctor  who  wanted  to  hold  his  railroad 
clientele,  each  with  his  lady.  Add  to  that  a  brave  repre- 
sentation from  the  local  fire  department  in  uniforms; 
two  policemen  and  the  waitresses  from  the  hotel,  all 
crowded  into  that  second-story  uncushioned  auditorium, 
impatient  for  the  curtain  to  ring  up,  and  you  have  a  com- 
bination equalled  only  when  the  state  standards  mass 
round  a  national  nomination  to  make  it  unanimous. 

The  freight  agent  at  St.  Louis,  Captain  P.  Flanigan, 
who  had  to  deplete  his  force  of  some  twenty  clerks  for 
the  day  by  excusing  Matt  Cooper,  Fred  Naylor,  and  me 
for  each  of  these  rural  assaults,  was  an  able  transporta- 
tion man  who  had  learned  his  business  on  the  Mississippi. 
He  was  of  quite  the  better  class  of  river  captain,  con- 
siderably travelled  and  by  no  means  unread. 

Matt  Cooper  had  a  tracing  department  shut  off  from 
the  main  office.  The  captain  unfailingly  visited  him  the 
day  after  such  a  trip  and  heard  every  detail  of  it.  I  found 


Cooper  in  a  gale  of  laughter  after  one  such  visit.  He 
closed  the  door  to  impart  the  joke  to  me  in  confidence. 
The  cue  had  been  Cooper's  narrative  of  the  play  of  which 
I  was  the  author. 

The  proud  captain  had  taken  it  seriously  and  his  side- 
splitting line — from  Cooper's  view-point,  not  from  mine 
— was  "Why,  if  Gus  can  write  that  he  may  some  day 
be  as  big  a  dramatist  as  Boucicault."  Cooper  had  con- 
trolled his  mirth  till  the  captain  left  the  room,  and  now 
he  was  pounding  me  on  the  back  to  force  me  to  see  it. 

The  first  steady  job  I  got  in  New  York  was  twelve 
years  later,  when  A.  M.  Palmer  at  the  Madison  Square 
Theatre  engaged  me  to  take  the  place  of  Mr.  Dion  Bouci- 
cault, who  wished  to  retire.  I  tell  it  now  in  no  prideful 
flush  whatever,  but  mainly  in  a  gentle  retrospect  of  dear 
old  P.  F.,  and  partly  for  its  associative  value:  in  the  be- 
ginning, my  first  boyish  writing,  a  frank  forage  on  Bouci- 
cault's  Rip;  in  the  middle  field  that  ridicule  that  Cooper, 
of  course,  passed  out  for  me  to  our  little  company;  and 
the  finish — Boucicault's  desk. 

It  was  during  this  period  that  I  got  my  first  long  coat. 
There  is  nothing  now  extant  by  which  with  one  indica- 
tion it  can  be  pictured.  It  was  not  so  long  as  a  Prince 
Albert,  nor  so  closely  joined  below  the  waist;  not  so  cut- 
away as  the  English  morning  coat  of  recent  years,  but 
something  between  the  two.  Fashion  dictated  that  it 
should  be  made  of  what  then  was  known  as  basket-cloth, 
a  prominent  weave  looking  like  a  diminutive  checker- 
board with  squares  of  one-half-inch.  The  material  was 
black,  and  when  made-up  was  bound  with  the  broadest 
possible  braid.  With  its  arrival  the  women  of  the  house- 
hold thought  I  was  entitled  to  an  evening  at  a  theatre 
in  company  with  some  nice  girl.  My  preference  was  for 


a  piquant  young  person  of  about  fourteen  years  of  age 

named  Dickey  B .     It  had  been  an  unexpressed  fear 

of  my  mother's  that  I  would  so  choose.  Dickey  was  a 
bit  the  neighborhood  soubrette  in  her  way.  She  had  an 
elder  sister,  neither  so  good-looking  nor  so  lively,  whose 
name  I  think  was  Louise.  I  don't  remember  inviting 
Louise  to  go  with  me.  That  was  arranged  through  some 
conferences  between  the  families;  all  now  confused  in 
my  memory  perhaps  because  I  wasn't  aware  of  them. 
No  ladies  went  into  the  parquet  of  those  days;  I  bought 
two  seats  for  a  dollar  each  to  the  old  Olympic  dress  circle, 
which  was  sufficiently  lifted  at  centre  to  allow  patrons 
of  the  parquet  to  pass  through  the  gangway  beneath  it. 
There  was  only  one  opposition  theatre  so  the  choice  was 
not  wide,  and  the  other  attraction  was  a  burlesque  of 
some  kind  to  which  a  very  young  man  with  his  girl 
couldn't  go.  I  can  remember  no  occasion  on  which  my 
embarrassment  was  so  great  as  when  I  sat  in  that  thin 
audience,  the  only  man  in  the  front  row  of  a  dinky  dress 
circle,  and  saw  a  performance  of  the  serious  history  of 
"King  John."  The  poor  girl  and  I  tried  to  make  con- 
versation. I  think  she  was  depressed  by  the  fact  that 
she  had  been  wished  onto  me.  I  was  depressed  by  the 
same  belief,  and  the  much  more  overshadowing  tragedy 
of  my  basket-cloth  coat  which  looked  well  in  front  of 
the  tailor's  mirror  but  came  up  unpleasantly  behind  the 
collar  when  I  sat  down;  and  persons  looked  at  us  in  the 
street-cars  on  the  trips  both  ways.  It  was  many  years 
before  I  was  able  properly  to  assess  the  memory  of  that 
evening.  It  gradually  turned  from  bitterness  to  indiffer- 
ence and  then  to  a  comic  recital,  and  as  time  went  on  to 
a  veritable  treasure,  as  I  found  I  was  one  of  the  very 
few  Americans  who  had  seen  a  performance  of  "King 


John,"  by  Junfus  Brutus  Booth,  the  elder  brother  of 
Edwin,  with  his  new  wife  Agnes  Booth  playing  Constance, 
and  that  sterling  young  actor  of  those  days,  Joseph 
Wheelock,  playing  Faulconridge.  I  never  met  Junius 
Brutus  Booth,  but  his  son,  Sydney,  and  I  are  friends. 
Mrs.  Agnes  Booth  and  I  worked  in  more  than  one  play, 
and  on  her  last  appearance  in  Boston,  in  1892,  in  a  one- 
act  sketch  called  "After  Thoughts"  which  I  had  written 
for  her  and  Ed  Bell  of  the  Madison  Square  Theatre,  I 
was  her  leading  man.  Joseph  Wheelock  I  came  to  know 
very  well  and  rehearsed  both  him  and  later  his  son, 
Joseph  Wheelock,  Jr.,  now  both  dead. 

Those  were  the  transition  days  in  the  professional 
theatre.  The  local  stock  company  engaged  to  support 
the  visiting  stars  was  gradually  making  place  for  the 
visits  of  entire  organizations.  A  local  company  might 
work  three  or  four  weeks  with  as  many  different  stars, 
and  then  be  laid  off  a  week  while  Shook  and  Palmer  or 
Augustin  Daly  came  in  with  a  full  cast  for  some  success- 
ful play  from  New  York;  or  Tony  Pastor  brought  a  full 
variety  company.  Some  stars  came  with  one  or  two 
supporting  actors  for  the  second  roles  and  filled  the  re- 
maining parts  from  the  resident  stock.  The  uncertainty 
of  such  a  broken  season  quickly  weakened  the  local  com- 
panies in  both  ability  and  number,  so  that  at  times  in 
St.  Louis  the  house  manager  had  to  wire  a  hurry  call  to 
Chicago  or  Cincinnati  or  in  an  extremity  use  even  some 
available  amateur. 

My  first  professional  calls  were  of  that  origin,  and 
were  soul-stirring  occasions.  I  have  in  later  years,  as 
have  other  authors — for  themselves — gone  on  in  some 
New  York  emergency  in  some  play  of  my  own  to  replace 
Maurice  Barrymore  or  other  actor  of  note  in  a  stellar 


role  with  less  feeling  of  importance  than  I  had  in  those 
salad  days  as  Mr.  Fawnsgaines  or  C.  F.  Loon — cream- 
faced  loon — on  the  handbill,  carrying  a  spear  or  serving 
a  letter  on  a  salver.  After  a  year  or  so  this  furtive  asso- 
ciation with  the  business  put  a  fellow  on  the  free  list;  I 
began  to  desert  the  gallery  and  to  nod  familiarly  to  the 
front  doorkeeper  as  I  went  into  the  playhouse,  leaving 
him  to  convince  the  visiting  manager  that  I  was  entitled 
to  the  privilege. 

As  I  look  back  to  the  wonderful  characterizations  of 
those  days  by  the  great  men  and  women,  Booth,  McCuI- 
lough,  Barrett,  Fechter,  Davenport,  Edwin  Adams,  Ben 
De  Bar,  Barry  Sullivan,  the  elder  Sothern,  Salvini,  Kean, 
Adelaide  Neilson,  Charlotte  Thompson,  Mrs.  D.  P. 
Bowers,  Janauschek,  and  a  host  of  others  in  the  legiti- 
mate and  romantic  plays,  I  find  that  I  remember  vividly 
the  stage  position  of  each  of  them  at  all  times  throughout 
any  performance.  Not  only  was  the  reading  of  every  line 
impressive;  the  composition  of  the  picture  and  the  ways 
of  its  acquirement  were  equally  so.  After  the  last  days 
of  the  resident  stock,  John  W.  Norton,  a  fine  actor-mana- 
ger, excellent  as  Othello,  I  ago,  and  Master  Walter  in  the 
"Hunchback,"  and  to  my  mind  the  equal  of  any  I  ever 
saw  in  Don  Cesar  de  Bazan,  St.  Pierre,  and  the  cloak- 
and-sword  heroes,  continued  a  kind  of  paper  organiza- 
tion capable  of  quick  mobilization  for  any  chance  week 
that  threatened  to  leave  a  theatre  dark  in  Louisville  or 
other  near-by  city.  Of  that  Norton  company  I  became 
the  juvenile  lead,  playing  the  seconds  to  Norton's  first 
parts;  and  although  the  hurried  calls  were  few,  one  or 
two  only  in  a  season,  the  hope  for  them  colored  and 
buoyed  every  day,  and  filled  many  night  hours  with  soli- 
tary recitations  of  the  possible  roles. 


The  sure-fire  comic  character  of  the  stage  in  those 
days  was  German.  His  delineators  were  called  Dutch 
comedians.  Their  prince  was  the  gifted,  magnetic, 
adored,  and  regretted  Jo  Emmett.  The  vaudeville — or, 
as  we  said  then,  variety — representative  was  Gus  Wil- 
liams; later  ones  were  Frank  Bush  and  my  next  door 
neighbor,  Clark  Fogel,  known  on  the  bills  as  Bert  Clark. 
Each  of  them  struck  twelve  in  a  kind  of  "  Lieber  Augus- 
tine" song,  broken  and  emphasized  by  a  rough  danct,  in 
wooden  shoes.  The  German  revolution  of  1 848  had  filled 
America  with  a  lovable  immigrant  of  the  Carl  Schurz 
frame  of  mind  and  longing  for  liberty,  made  still  more 
popular  by  their  stalwart  service  as  soldiers  in  the  Union 

This  type  gave  way  in  the  theatre  to  the  stage  Irish- 
man, irresistible  in  Handy  Andy  blunder  and  volatile 
humor.  The  greatest  Irish  comedian  that  I  ever  saw, 
not  excepting  Mr.  Boucicault,  was  Hugh  Fay,  of  the  old 
firm  of  Barry  and  Fay.  Mr.  Fay  was  a  tall,  intellectual- 
looking  person  with  deep-set  eyes  and  very  scholarly 
gentleness  and  repression.  Perhaps  these  effects  were 
heightened  by  the  contrast  to  his  partner,  Barry,  who 
was  a  short,  roly-poly,  rather  rough-and-tumble  per- 
sonality. They  made  a  great  contrast  in  their  several 
vehicles,  especially  "Muldoon's  Picnic,"  which  had  been 
gradually  elaborated  from  a  vaudeville  sketch  to  a  three- 
act  comedy.  This  play  is  coupled  in  my  mind  with 
"Florence's  Mighty  Dollar"  for  ability  to  rock  its  audi- 
ence with  laughter  until  persons  here  and  there  left  the 
auditorium  for  momentary  escape  from  the  side-ache  of 
it.  The  Irish  impersonator  was  applauded  and  undis- 
turbed until  he  forfeited  support  by  his  exaggerations; 
until  Irish- Americans  revolted  at  the  extravagance  of 

From  a  photograph  by  Strauss,  St.  Louis. 



green  whiskers  and  egg-sized  lumps  raised  on  bald  heads 
by  cave-man  shillalahs;  after  which  the  Irishman  in 
turn  gave  way  to  the  stage  Jew. 

The  most  popular  Jewish  character  actor  of  those  days 
was  M.  B.  Curtis,  who  sprang  into  sudden  popularity 
in  a  drummer-salesman  character  called  Samuel  of  Posen. 
This  play  had  the  same  progressive  history  of  commer- 
cial struggle  that  one  gets  glimpses  of  in  "The  Auc- 
tioneer" and  "Potash  and  Perlmutter,"  which  play  and 
dramatization  were  both  made  by  that  talented  Jewish 
author,  the  late  Charles  Klein,  and  in  which  respectively 
appeared  David  Warfield,  Barney  Bernard,  and  Alex- 
ander Carr.  The  rise  of  Curtis  financially  was  a  phe- 
nomenon of  that  time.  The  play  had  been  done  in  the 
East,  and  when  it  came  to  St.  Louis  its  arrival  was  her- 
alded by  lithographs  which  showed  Curtis  as  Samuel  oj 
Posen  mounted  on  a  racing  horse  taking  hurdles  over 
the  field.  These  hurdles  grew  in  the  number  of  bars  as 
the  horse  progressed.  Each  hurdle  had  on  it  the  name 
of  the  city,  with  the  bars  carrying  the  advertisement  of 
the  gross  receipts  of  the  play.  We  had  often  had  in  plays 
the  Jewish  character,  both  sinister  and  comic,  but  aside 
from  the  classical  Jews,  as  Shylock  and  the  Jew  oj  Malta, 
I  do  not  recall  the  Jew  as  being  a  dominating  character 
of  a  play  before  that.  Following  Samuel  of  Posen,  there 
was  an  invasion  of  Jewish  impersonations.  This  char- 
acter bids  fair  to  continue  his  comic  tenure,  because  his 
present  exponent,  engaged  by  a  Jewish  manager,  is  him- 
self Jewish,  and  has  his  material  furnished  by  observant 
male  and  female  writers  of  his  race. 

To  go  back  just  a  little  farther  in  the  period  we  are 
considering:  The  first  time  I  ever  sat  in  a  dress  circle 
without  my  father  was  when  my  boy  pal,  Charley 


Beamer,  bought  the  tickets.  The  attraction  was  Lydia 
Thompson's  "British  Blondes.*'  We  were  in  the  front 
row  of  that  horseshoe  as  one  would  be  to-day  if  on  a  de- 
pressed balcony.  The  burning,  the  unforgetable  feature 
of  that  Christmas  matinee  was  the  appearance  of  six 
girls  in  tights.  To-day  I  should  know  it  was  a  bum- 
front  scene  with  two  baby  spots  arranged  to  let  the  car- 
penters set  the  stage  behind.  Then  it  was  an  intoxicat- 
ing illusion  with  calcium  lights  that  never  were  on  land 
or  sea.  Three  of  those  robust  ladies  I  have  forgotten, 
but  Lydia  Thompson,  Pauline  Markham,  and  Eliza 
Weathersby  I  remember. 

In  the  matter  of  stage  effect  that  sextet  of  substantial 
femininity  in  a  double  cross  current  of  prismatic  splen- 
dor is  my  lost  chord.  Now  and  then  at  Easthampton, 
with  the  motor  headlight  making  a  profiled  tunnel 
through  a  lane  of  pines  at  2A.M.,  there  has  been  a  heart- 
throb of  a  former  incarnation  that  I  have  been  able  to 
connote  as  that  Christmas  matinee,  but  it  was  ephemeral, 
tantalizing,  fugitive,  and  mocking.  The  perfect  ecstasy 
of  that  holiday  disclosure  will  never  come  again.  Lydia 
Thompson  was  playing  Robinson  Crusoe  in  a  ballet  skirt 
and  shako  of  snow-white  goatskin,  the  rest  of  her  cos- 
tume, skin-white  tights  of  silk. 

The  man  Friday  was  the  wonderful  Harry  Becket, 
whose  picture  as  one  of  its  first  officers  now  hangs  in  the 
Lambs  Club,  New  York.  Friday  was  in  brown.  He 
carried  a  large  flappy  valise  and  a  dictionary,  which,  at 
every  moment  of  linguistic  doubt,  he  threw  himself  on 
his  stomach  and  consulted  violently.  Each  coveted 
stage  prop  was  picked  up,  and  with  a  repeated  "put  it 
in  de  bag"  dropped  into  that  insatiable  receptacle. 
The  climax  came  with  the  arrival  of  the  rescue  ship,  a 


stately  frigate  quite  satisfying  in  stage  perspective  as  it 
rode  into  view  on  the  third  set  water  cut  in  profile.  Cru- 
soe was  lyrically  happy  at  the  arrived  relief;  Friday  stud- 
ied the  distant,  full-rigged  boat  a  moment  and  then, 
striding  by  easy  hurdles  over  the  interposing  waves, 
said  "  Put  it  in  de  bag,"  and  did  so.  Is  there  such  whole- 
some stage  fun  anywhere? 

It  will  be  impressive  and  perhaps  valuable  to  set  the 
stage  of  that  earlier  amateur  and  professional  environ- 
ment. Let  us  rapid-living,  swiftly  going,  flying  people 
of  to-day  try  to  realize  that  then  there  was  not  in  all  the 
world  a  telephone  or  electric  light  or  trolley-car  or  auto- 
mobile; not  even  a  bicycle  had  yet  been  evolved  or  in- 
vented. There  had  been  the  velocipede,  a  tandem  two- 
wheel  device  with  a  saddle  on  which  one  wearing  side- 
whiskers  could  sit  in  a  high  silk  hat  and  other  singular 
garments  and  propel  himself  by  pushing  along  the  ground 
with  his  feet  and  then  lifting  them  for  a  glide  of  a  rod  or 
two;  but  nothing  speedier  or  more  automatic.  There 
were  no  typewriters.  The  newest  illumination  was  coal- 
gas;  the  quickest  local  communication  was  a  longhand 
letter  sent  by  a  boy.  All  watches  wound  with  a  key; 
the  stem-winder  was  not  yet  offered  or  introduced  in 
our  section.  But  goldsmiths  were  not  idle;  each  proper 
shop  tempted  the  ultra-fashionable  by  a  tray  of  gold 

These  fascinating  implements,  in  a  variety  of  decora- 
tions, some  even  jewelled,  were  composed  of  a  thin  cylin- 
der of  precious  metal  three-quarters  the  length  of  a  mod- 
ern cigarette  and  half  the  diameter,  from  which  by 
turning  the  base  of  the  tube  one  could  cause  to  emerge 
a  piston  fitted  with  a  thin  spearhead  of  gold,  designed 
to  dislodge  stubborn  remnants  of  food  from  dental  inter- 


vals.  After  such  an  interesting  service  the  harpoon,  on 
its  disappearing  gun  carriage,  moved  into  the  cylinder 
again  and  the  implement  was  replaced  in  the  right-hand 
vest  pocket.  And  for  that  meal,  as  they  say  in  diplo- 
macy, the  incident  was  closed. 

Occasionally  a  young  man  in  some  older  and  more 
established  family  inherited  one  of  these  toilet  acces- 

At  the  Centennial  Exhibition  in  Philadelphia  in  1876 
the  Bell  telephone  was  regarded  as  a  toy.  Visitors  per- 
mitted to  listen  to  the  voice  of  a  friend  speaking  from 
the  next  room  examined  the  legs  of  the  table  to  find  the 
tube  which  they  were  sure  Mr.  Bell  had  concealed  to 
convey  the  sound.  The  first  arc  light  in  St.  Louis  was 
a  few  years  later.  This  was  a  spitting  and  sparking 
and  blinding  globe  suspended  outside  of  a  Budweiser 
beer  bottler's  on  Sixth  Street  near  Locust,  and  pedes- 
trians were  astonished  at  the  magic  silhouettes  of  them- 
selves that  it  cast  on  the  pavement.  Street-car  parties 
were  organized  like  the  rubberneck  auto  deputations  of 
to-day  to  ride  down-town  and  view  this  wonder.  In- 
candescent lamps  came  later  still. 

All  that  was  but  five  and  forty  years  ago.  Statesmen, 
ministers  of  the  gospel,  bankers,  and  boys  all  wore  boots, 
the  leather  legs  of  which  reached  halfway  to  the  knees, 
either  under  or  outside  the  trousers.  Lincoln,  Johnson, 
Grant,  Hayes,  and  Oom  Paul  were  inaugurated  in  such 
gun-cases.  Before  sending  trousers  home,  the  tailor  or 
merchant  of  the  ready-made  faithfully  obligated  himself 
to  press  out  the  creases  down  the  front  now  regarded  as 
so  desirable  by  the  well-dressed.  The  well-to-do  river- 
men,  the  romantic  survivals  from  the  Jack  Hamlin 
period  of  Bret  Harte,  had  soft-bosom  shirts  with  wide 


plaits  fastened  by  gold  or  jewelled  buttons  held  in  a  set 
by  a  threadlike  chain  of  gold,  festooning  from  stud  to 
stud  outside  the  shirt-bosom.  The  average  man,  how- 
ever, had  his  shirt  buttoning  down  the  back  to  permit 
an  unbroken  expanse  of  impenetrable  front,  garnished 
by  one  large  diamond  mounted  on  a  substantial  crown 
of  gold,  and  anchored  to  this  linoleum  breastplate  by  a 
tight-wormed  spiral  of  the  same  metal.  Tom  Nast's  old 
cartoons  of  Bill  Tweed  show  that  Tammany  chieftain 
wearing  one  of  these  sparklers.  Hotel  clerks  and  negro 
minstrels  competed  and  specialized  in  this  single  shirt- 
stud  adornment.  That  the  fashion  had  some  intellectual 
approval  is  indicated  by  a  comment  of  Colonel  Robert 
IngersoII  when  in  1880  our  city  went  Republican  while 
the  State  had  gone  Democratic. 

He  said,  "St.  Louis  is  a  diamond  stud  on  a  dirty  shirt." 
Let  me  make  now  one  inclusive  declaration  of  inde- 
pendence in  belief.  I  wish  to  write  through  these 
memoirs  now  and  then  of  spiritism,  clairvoyance,  telep- 
athy, and  other  psychic  phenomena;  and  in  order  to 
forestall  any  apprehension  on  the  part  of  those  at  all 
gun-shy  on  these  subjects,  to  say  that  I  am  not  a  spiritist, 
although  possessed  of  a  very  avid  curiosity  on  all  that 
authoritatively  relates  to  spiritism.  I  am  not  a  hypno- 
tist, but  am  intensely  interested  in  the  phenomena  of 
hypnotism.  I  have  no  second  sight,  no  clairvoyance,  no 
abnormal  or  supernormal  powers  of  any  nature;  and  yet 
I  think  that  perhaps  more  than  the  average  man  I  have 
been  in  contact  with  soi-disant  possessors  of  such  powers. 
My  father  was  one  of  the  sanest  and  best-balanced 
men  I  ever  saw.  He  had  had  many  chances  to  observe 
the  table  tippings,  rappings,  levitations,  and  the  like  of 
spiritists.  He  was  reluctant  to  characterize  all  of  it  as 

fraud  and  equally  unwilling  to  accept  it  as  any  demon- 
stration from  the  so-called  dead.  The  most  experienced 
investigator  of  this  class  of  phenomena  that  I  personally 
know,  outside  of  those  actively  interested  in  the  work  for 
psychical-research  societies,  is  my  present  friend,  Ham- 
lin  Garland.  Mr.  Garland  conducted  a  series  of  investi- 
gations some  years  ago  for  Everybody's  Magazine,  and 
wrote  one  book  upon  the  subject,  masquerading  as  a 
novel,  under  the  title  of  "The  Tyranny  of  the  Dark." 
Garland  has  seen  and  experimented  with  the  so-called 
materializations  of  spiritism.  If  I  remember  rightly,  he 
thinks  the  power  may  be  but  an  undeveloped  psychical 
attribute  of  the  race;  that  the  so-called  materializations 
are  psychically  induced  emanations  from  the  operator's 
own  body,  and  that  it  is  all  a  part  of  what  we  might  call 
unexplored  biology. 

Between  the  years  of  my  father's  cautious  dictum 
and  the  equally  conservative  conclusions  of  Mr.  Garland 
I  have  read  publications  of  the  psychical-research  socie- 
ties of  both  England  and  America,  talked  extensively 
with  the  late  Doctor  Hyslop,  and  had  been  asked  by  him 
to  write  of  some  personal  observations.  That  I  never 
did  so  was  due  to  a  congenital  disposition  to  procrasti- 
nate. My  mother  shared  my  father's  agnostic  attitude, 
although  surrounded  by  an  atmosphere  of  the  belief. 
My  dear  old  grandmother,  of  whom  I  have  written  some- 
what playfully  but  with  great  reverence,  had  no  doubts 
on  the  subject.  As  a  young  woman  she  had  been  rebuked 
for  her  opinions  by  her  friend,  Archbishop  Purcell,  who 
took  the  safe  and  wholesome  attitude  of  the  Catholic 
Church  that  the  whole  subject  was  an  excellent  thing 
for  the  simple  layman  to  avoid.  Personally,  grandmother 
overrode  this  advice;  she  firmly  believed  that  she  was 


in  communication  with  a  spirit  world.  This  was  not  an 
obtrusive  or  offensive  or  disquieting  position  with  her, 
because  she  seldom  talked  of  it.  But  there  were  occa- 
sions at  home,  some  half-dozen  notable  instances,  when, 
with  sickness  somewhere  in  the  brood  of  children  and 
the  puzzled  doctors  in  conference  disagreeing,  the  old 
lady  had  not  hesitated  to  give  a  definitive  diagnosis  of 
the  trouble  and  prescribe  a  remedy.  This  she  did  with 
all  the  solemnity  of  a  traditional  oracle,  quietly  seated 
in  her  chair,  but  with  none  of  the  described  theatricality 
of  the  cult  except  that  she  closed  her  eyes. 

On  those  remembered  occasions  there  are  no  data  for 
verifying  her  diagnoses;  but  her  recommended  remedies 
were  completely  curative,  and  although  these  were  re- 
sorted to  as  a  rule  without  my  father's  consent,  and  some- 
times against  his  opposition,  their  unbroken  record  of 
successes  gradually  won  his  silence  and  apparently  his 
respect.  This  therapeutic  assumption  of  grandmother's 
was  her  only  spiritistic  claim.  She  had  no  visions  or  pre- 
tended auditions;  she  told  no  fortunes;  she  attended  no 
church  or  circle  of  spiritists;  nor  had  she  with  their  pro- 
fessed believers  any  relations  whatever  of  which  I  ever 
knew.  Years  after  the  last  of  A.  W.'s  letters  she  an- 
nounced one  day  that  he  was  dead.  To  use  her  own 
words,  she  "just  received  a  feeling  of  it."  We  had  then 
no  acceptable  way  to  verify  her  conviction.  On  my  last 
visit  to  St.  Louis  during  her  life,  when  in  her  eighty- 
fourth  year,  she  was  but  a  shadow  of  the  substantial  and 
militant  grandmother  of  the  Civil  War  period,  she  held 
my  hands  as  I  bade  her  good-by  for  my  return  trip  to 
New  York,  and  she  talked  of  her  approaching  departure 
to  another  world  with  the  serenity  of  Socrates. 

I  know  how  one's  prudent  friends  advise  against  any 


discrediting  admissions  of  this  kind.  Our  greatest  men 
are  not  free  from  fear  of  the  ridicule  it  risks.  Colonel 
Henry  Watterson  once  told  me  that,  taking  Joseph  Jef- 
ferson to  a  dinner  in  Washington  City  which  he  was  giv- 
ing to  John  G.  Carlisle,  then  Speaker  of  the  House,  and 
Chief  Justice  Fuller  of  the  Supreme  Court,  and  knowing 
as  he  did  Jefferson's  predilection  for  all  things  spiritistic, 
he  had  felt  it  wise  to  caution  Joe  against  showing  that 
side  of  his  credulity  in  the  company  that  evening.  He 
had  explained  that  Carlisle  was  a  hard-headed  lawyer, 
trained  in  the  presentation  of  evidence  and  not  given  to 
any  vagaries  unsupported  by  material  testimony;  and 
Chief  Justice  Fuller,  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United 
States,  was  eminently  of  the  type  of  mind  that  his  posi- 
tion required,  and  that  any  spiritistic  statements  would 
probably  be  prejudicial. 

The  dinner  had  hardly  started;  the  rain  outside  in- 
duced a  serious  atmosphere.  Something  was  said  that 
made  an  easy  approach  to  the  subject,  when  Carlisle 
himself  introduced  the  question  of  spiritism,  supporting 
it  by  a  most  extravagant  story  of  his  own  experience. 
When  Carlisle  finished,  Chief  Justice  Fuller  followed 
with  something  from  his  recollections  that  topped  the 
Carlisle  story. 

Colonel  Watterson  relates,  "  I  then  threw  up  my  hands 
and  said,  'Joe,  the  bars  are  down/  ' 

On  the  day  that  I  was  dictating  my  recollections  of 
this  story,  in  September,  1921,  I  had  a  telephone  com- 
munication from  a  mutual  friend  telling  me  that  Colonel 
Watterson  was  confined  to  his  room  with  a  slight  attack 
of  bronchitis  in  the  Prince  George  Hotel  in  New  York. 
I  went  to  see  him.  Our  friendship  has  existed  since  1888. 
I  am  happy  to  say  that  I  found  Colonel  Watterson's 


confinement  to  his  room  more  cautionary  than  impera- 
tive. In  our  rambling  talk  I  reverted  to  this  story  of 
Jefferson,  and  Colonel  Watterson  verified  my  recollec- 
tions of  it. 

I  told  him  that  I  was  writing  it  in  a  contribution  to  a 
paper,  and  said,  "Why  wasn't  that  in  your  own  fine 

He  said:  "There  was  so  much  to  tell  that  most  of  that 
kind  of  stuff  was  crowded  out;  and  besides,  my  dignity 
sat  on  my  pen." 

Perhaps  by  this  implication,  stimulating  or  restrain- 
ing, according  to  one's  interpretation,  dignity  should 
drag  a  little  here.  But  I  feel  the  need,  which  Colonel 
Watterson  did  not  have,  of  laying  a  foundation  for  some 
fuller  expressions  on  the  subject  later  on,  all  of  them 
relating  to  experiences  that  culminated  as  far  as  I  be- 
lieved the  theatre  then  permitted  an  intelligent  sum- 
mary in  my  play  "The  Witching  Hour."  Besides,  a 
very  wise  counsellor  once  said:  "We  should  be  generous 
even  of  our  dignity."  And  so,  with  what  I  hope  was  a 
cautious  approach  to  the  subject,  and  this  explanation 
serving  as  a  rear-guard,  I  leave  my  psychical  preparations 
temporarily  between  them. 

My  interest  and  practice  in  drawing  were  advanced 
by  some  experience  nearly  every  day.  Almost  mechani- 
cally I  filled  the  margins  of  car  reports  and  chance  news- 
papers with  pencil  sketches.  During  some  winter  nights, 
as  late  as  two  or  three  in  the  morning,  huddled  in  the 
switch  shanty  in  the  railroad  yard,  waiting  for  the 
double-decked  hog  trains  that  were  arriving  at  half- 
hour  intervals,  we  used  to  get  fun  out  of  chalk  or  char- 
coal caricatures  of  some  member  of  the  crew,  drawn  on 
the  walls  of  the  dismantled  box-car  that  served  as  our 


refuge.  Now  and  then  a  switchman  of  undeveloped 
taste  would  intrust  to  me  a  photograph  to  be  enlarged 
in  crayon. 

It  may  be  because  we  young  men  were  so  much  in  the 
midst  of  it  that  I  got  the  idea  that  there  was  a  consider- 
able art  interest  in  St.  Louis  at  that  period.  Pictures  of 
three  painters  whose  reputations  led  and  which  in  later 
years  I  had  a  chance  to  see  again  bear  out  the  estimate 
in  which  they  then  were  held.  James  M.  Tracy,  a 
painter  of  landscapes  and  animals,  came  afterward  to 
New  York,  and  made  a  considerable  stir  with  his  pic- 
tures of  hunting  dogs  in  the  field.  There  was  a  time  when 
the  important  magazines  were  glad  to  reproduce  these 
canvases.  J.  R.  Meeker,  a  man  of  heroic  mould  physi- 
cally, had  made  a  study  of  Southern  landscape  with  its 
hazy  atmosphere,  hanging  moss,  and  brooding  cranes. 
Few  men  before  or  since  have  been  so  able  to  get  the 
spirit  of  the  hazy  regions  of  Pontchartrain.  W.  S.  Mar- 
pie  handled  landscape  bits  with  the  affection  and  delicacy 
if  not  the  superlative  skill  that  mark  the  gentlewomen 
that  our  present  Thomas  Dewing  paints.  About  these 
three  men  were  a  score  of  lesser  popularity,  with  here 
and  there  in  the  number  men  of  equal  craftsmanship. 
Carl  Gutherz  was  a  Munich  graduate,  as  was  also  Paul 

At  the  Washington  University  there  was  a  completely 
equipped  and  well-organized  art  school,  founded  by  that 
administrator  of  international  fame,  Professor  Halsey  C. 
Ives,  who  later  directed  the  art  exhibit  of  the  World's 
Fair  in  Chicago.  In  one  of  the  university  departments 
was  the  usual  life  class,  and  for  the  benefit  of  young  men 
who  were  obliged  to  work  in  the  day  some  of  the  sessions 
were  held  at  night.  In  North  St.  Louis  a  little  nucleus 


met  in  the  rooms  of  the  brothers,  George  and  Edward 
Snell.  A  third  companion  there  was  the  late  Sylvester 
Rawling,  who  subsequently  became  an  important  mem- 
ber of  the  editorial  staff  of  the  New  York  World  and  an 
authority  upon  music. 

Four  or  five  of  us  used  to  come  together  once  or  twice 
a  week  immediately  after  supper  at  George  Snell's  rooms, 
and  start  for  our  walk  of  two  miles  to  the  Washington 
University  for  the  night  class,  and  when  that  was  over 
foot  it  home.  We  came  back  through  the  streets  of  sleep- 
ing and  shuttered  houses  toward  midnight,  laughing  and 
singing,  as  we  knew  from  the  stories  of  our  elders  the 
students  laughed  and  sang  in  the  Latin  Quarter. 

Gutherz,  one  of  the  teachers  in  the  life  class,  was  a 
master  draftsman.  Howard  Kretchmar,  the  sculptor, 
lectured  on  the  skeleton  and  the  muscular  structures, 
and  made  them  vastly  interesting.  I  recall  the  astonish- 
ment with  which  I  learned  that  a  piece  of  sculpture  in 
the  making  was  built  up  and  not  chiselled  out  of  some 
solid  mass.  This  fact,  so  familiar  to  us  older  ones,  now 
comes  as  a  helpful  surprise  to  most  beginners  in  art.  I 
recently  saw  a  friend's  wife  who  has  considerable  talent 
for  modelling  struggling  to  obtain  a  form  by  cutting  clay 
from  a  sufficiently  inclusive  mass.  She  is  a  lady  of  thirty- 
two  and  fair  general  information,  yet  she  came  with  as- 
tonishment to  know  that  the  sculptor  in  making  a  draped 
figure  sets  up  first  the  frame  that  somewhat  simulates 
the  skeleton,  and  adds  a  sufficient  outline  to  approximate 
a  nude  before  he  puts  over  the  final  drapery. 

About  that  time,  encouraged  by  the  three  old  artists 
first  mentioned,  we  organized  a  sketch  club  in  St.  Louis 
with  some  thirty  active  members.  I  have  been  in  many 
organizations  since  then,  from  labor-unions  to  academies; 


but  none  for  sheer  good  fun,  for  emulation,  for  real 
progress,  for  general  education,  and  for  generosity  has 
equalled  that  old  St.  Louis  Sketch  Club.  We  met  twice 
a  month,  each  member  bringing  in  a  sketch  upon  a  sub- 
ject announced  at  the  preceding  meeting.  The  host  of 
the  night  obligated  himself  to  furnish  some  sandwiches 
and  a  keg  of  beer,  and  became  the  owner  of  the  sketches. 

The  principal  art  firm  of  the  city  gave  us  a  rear  gal- 
lery in  which  to  have  our  fortnightly  gathering,  where 
the  sketches  were  tacked  up  on  the  wall  or  placed  upon 
proper  pedestals,  seriously  discussed  by  all,  constructively 
criticised  by  the  men  competent  to  judge  them,  and  al- 
ways applauded  when  at  all  deserving.  When  we  had 
talked  ourselves  out  about  the  exhibition,  sandwiches 
were  opened  up,  the  beer  keg  was  tapped.  Kretchmar, 
Meeker,  or  some  other  positive  personality  presided, 
with  the  beer  mallet  as  a  gavel,  and  there  was  such  im- 
promptu entertainment  as  the  vivacious  spirits  of  our 
little  artistic  membership  could  give.  The  next  day  our 
commercial  house  had  the  place  cleaned  up;  the  art  men 
on  the  local  newspapers  came  in  and  wrote  helpfully  of 
the  exhibition  and  for  a  week  following  it  was  open  to 
the  public. 

The  entertaining  character  of  our  meetings  gradually 
drew  privileged  citizens,  and  after  a  while  it  was  our 
custom  to  have  as  special  guests,  who  came  in  after  the 
play  was  over,  visiting  actors  of  distinction.  I  made  at 
such  meetings  my  first  acquaintance  with  Robson,  Crane, 
Raymond,  Wyndham,  Florence,  and  other  men.  On  her 
first  visit  to  St.  Louis,  when  she  brought  with  her  own 
art  works,  her  little  canvases  and  bronzes,  the  reception 
to  Sarah  Bernhardt  was  under  our  auspices,  and  her 
works  were  exhibited  in  connection  with  our  own.  We 


had  a  special  meeting  in  the  afternnon  for  the  divine 
Sarah.  She  stood  in  the  salon  of  our  little  club  to  receive 
three  or  four  hundred  honored  with  invitations.  I  re- 
member her  little  flat  but  jaunty  and  beplumed  hat  of 
that  period,  set  high  on  her  shapely  head,  and  her  tight- 
fitting  gown  of  purple  velvet,  more  like  a  riding-habit 
than  any  other  style  that  would  in  a  word  describe  it. 

Local  interest  in  this  little  organization  grew.  Philan- 
thropic and  discriminating  men  picked  from  our  mem- 
bership the  boys  they  thought  capable  of  a  career. 
George  Snell  went  as  the  protege  of  a  syndicate  to  Paris. 
A  year  or  two  later  RuckstuII  followed.  About  the  same 
time  Will  H.  Howe,  the  eminent  cattle-painter,  who  now 
lives  at  Bronxville,  where  he  may  show  his  three  medals 
that  make  him  hors  concours  in  the  National  Salon  of 
France,  and  who  wears  in  his  lapel  the  red  ribbon  of  the 
Legion  of  Honor,  was  another. 

George  Snell  and  Rawlings  both  are  gone;  a  younger 
brother,  Henry  Bayley  Snell,  with  medals  from  Phila- 
delphia and  Paris,  the  Buffalo  and  St.  Louis  expositions, 
and  from  Panama,  is  now  president  of  the  New  York 
Water  Color  Club.  One  distinguished  patron  of  art 
and  an  honorary  member  of  this  sketch  club  was  Mr. 
John  P.  Colby,  father  of  Bainbridge  Colby,  Secretary  of 
State  during  the  last  year  of  the  Wilson  Administration. 
When  our  little  gang  in  St.  Louis  said  good-by  to  George 
Snell  the  night  before  he  started  for  Paris,  with  a  real 
sense  of  loss  and  more  emotion  in  the  Godspeed  than 
one  finds  anywhere  outside  of  a  college  commencement 
break-up,  the  parting  ceremony  was  at  John  Colby's 
beautiful  home,  with  the  future  cabinet  officer  and  his 
younger  sister  tucked  safely  away  in  their  beds. 

These  gentlemen  who  financed  the  Paris  studies  of 


some  of  these  boys  made  me  a  similar  offer,  but  affairs 
at  home  were  not  in  a  condition  that  permitted  my  leav- 
ing. I  had  had  some  training  for  the  disappointment 
three  years  before,  when,  after  a  competitive  examina- 
tion, and  by  the  help  of  the  local  Methodist  minister, 
who  upon  grandmother's  appeal  tutored  and  brushed  me 
up  for  the  contest,  I  had  won  an  appointment  to  West 
Point.  This  had  been  declined  for  the  same  domestic 
reasons.  I  write  of  both  seeming  deprivations  to  record 
an  unmanly  self-pity,  although  I  hope  I  didn't  openly 
confess  it  at  the  time. 

There  were  no  appointed  Spartan  preceptors  in  the 
railroad  yard  to  teach  us  to  be  calm  above  the  aggression 
of  our  hidden  foxes,  but  there  were  stoical  traditions.  In 
those  days  we  used  to  injure  in  some  degree  or  other  an 
average  of  a  man  a  month,  and  it  was  the  sporty  thing, 
with  a  foot  that  had  just  been  mashed  in  a  frog  or  a  hand 
that  had  been  caught  between  the  bumpers,  to  sit  tight, 
and  while  admitting  it  was  tough  luck  to  smile  as  gamely 
as  one  could.  A  sturdy  freight  conductor,  Alex  Beecher, 
with  both  legs  run  over  and  crushed  at  a  siding  some 
fifty  miles  out,  had  rallied  his  demoralized  crew,  made 
tourniquets  of  a  couple  of  belts  to  stop  the  hemorrhage, 
cut  out  all  but  his  engine  and  caboose,  telegraphed  for 
a  clear  track,  sent  a  call  to  the  St.  Louis  surgeons,  and 
when  he  pulled  into  the  terminal  to  meet  the  ambulance 
was  sitting  stoutly  upright  in  his  rude  bunk  calculating 
his  run.  Heroic  examples  of  that  kind  shamed  the  spirit 
that  could  repine  even  to  oneself  over  a  disappointed 
dream.  But  art  and  Paris  could  not  have  had  for  me 
the  varied  experience  that  a  catch-as-catch-can  grapple 
with  the  world  enforced  for  the  work  I  was  ultimately  so 
glad  to  do. 


I  referred  in  the  last  chapter  to  the  number  of  men 
injured  in  the  railroad  yards  before  mechanical  protec- 
tions had  been  invented.  The  absence  of  safety  devices 
on  the  crude  railroads  of  that  day  that  made  possible 
these  frequent  physical  accidents,  the  keenness  of  the 
railroads  to  get  the  injured  men  to  sign  waivers  of 
damages  or  to  take  mere  settlement  of  surgical  and  hos- 
pital fees  were  among  the  many  things  of  which  the  men 
complained.  They  had  just  passed  through  a  period  of 
payment  by  scrip;  that  is  to  say,  paper  promises  by  the 
railroad  instead  of  the  paper  currency  of  the  United 
States.  This  company  scrip  was  discounted  at  the  neigh- 
borhood groceries,  which  further  reduced  the  compensa- 
tion of  the  men.  Discontent  was  not  local  but  nation- 

Terence  V.  Powderly,  the  labor  leader,  visited  each 
section  of  the  industry  and  organized  assemblies  of  the 
Knights  of  Labor.  I  was  not  yet  of  age,  but  men  in  the 
freight-yard  closed  their  eyes  to  my  disqualification.  I 
became  a  member  of  the  Missouri  Assembly  No.  9  and 
a  subscriber  to  its  oath.  This  assembly  had  about  two 
hundred  members  recruited  from  the  trainmen  and  the 
freight  platforms. 

Their  attempts  at  conducting  business  in  parliamen- 
tary fashion  were  frequently  confused,  and  after  I  had 
been  called  upon  a  number  of  times  because  of  my  page- 



boy  information  to  decide  some  point,  one  of  those  prac- 
tical foremen  whose  object  was  not  office  or  decoration, 
but  to  get  the  work  done,  said:  "Why  do  we  waste  time 
asking  this  kid  what  to  do  when  we  know  that  if  we  put 
him  into  the  chair  we  can  get  through  with  our  business 
and  get  home  to  bed?" 

There  was  no  dissent  even  from  the  incumbent  officer, 
and  with  no  outspoken  opposition  I  was  elected  to  the 
place  of  master  workman.  As  a  man,  according  to  the 
laws  of  the  organization,  had  to  be  twenty-one  years  of 
age,  and  I  was  two  years  shy  of  that,  it  is  probably  a 
fair  assumption  that  I  was  the  youngest  master  workman 
in  the  order.  I  went  through  a  protracted  local  strike 
at  that  time  with  our  men,  and  sat  in  councils  that  de- 
cided rather  fateful  questions. 

In  any  secret  organization  an  oath  with  the  accom- 
panying ceremonies  and  surrounding  paraphernalia  is  an 
impressing  thing.  Although  not  a  joiner,  I  have  seen 
two  or  three  kinds  of  initiation;  but  never  an  equal  so- 
lemnity to  that  of  those  men,  who  felt  they  were  uniting 
in  a  life-or-death  class  struggle. 

At  that  time  it  was  not  the  avowed  policy  of  organized 
labor  to  keep  clear  of  politics.  I  think  the  leaders  among 
them  felt  that  to  influence  legislation  was  the  way  out 
of  their  difficulties.  At  any  rate,  in  my  twentieth  year 
the  Labor  Party  of  St.  Louis  determined  to  make  an 
organized  protest,  and  although  moving  to  an  unques- 
tionable and  thoroughly  foreseen  defeat  in  the  elections, 
they  decided  upon  the  count  of  noses.  In  that  forlorn 
hope,  as  an  ineligible  candidate  for  clerk  of  the  circuit 
court,  I  made  my  first  out-of-door,  cart-tail  speeches. 
The  atmosphere  was  pretty  thoroughly  surcharged.  The 
great  railroad  strike  had  swept  the  country.  In  Pitts- 


burgh  the  strikers  had  been  victorious  over  the  local 
militia.  They  had  driven  the  Philadelphia  Grays  into 
a  roundhouse  upon  which  they  trained  their  captured 
cannon,  and  into  which  they  ran  a  car  of  burning  oil. 
The  Grays  were  many  of  them  trampled  to  death.  Mil- 
lions of  dollars'  worth  of  property  was  destroyed,  and 
order  was  restored  only  when  General  Phil  Sheridan, 
with  United  States  troops,  took  charge  of  the  situation. 

John  Scott,  the  first  Earl  of  Eldon,  Lord  Chancellor 
of  England  in  1821,  is  quoted  as  saying,  when  he  was 
eighty  years  of  age,  and  protesting  against  the  rapid 
disposition  of  anybody  in  the  possession  of  three  acres 
and  a  cow  to  become  conservative,  "If  I  were  to  begin 
life  again,  I  am  damned  but  I  would  begin  as  agitator." 
I  had  not  read  Lord  Eldon,  but  I  began  as  agitator. 

Through  all  this  perilous  time  I  had  at  my  elbow  my 
dear  old  father,  wise  in  political  and  military  fashion; 
and  it  may  be  that  much  of  our  organized  activity  was 
tempered  by  thoughtful  things  I  was  able  to  say  to  my 
men  and  of  which  father  had  in  serious  discussions  in- 
formed me. 

We  talk  now  of  persisting  forces  that  work  at  the  foun- 
dation of  our  civilization  either  for  its  upbuilding  and 
its  support  or  its  renovation  or  its  decline;  it  is  proper 
to  be  briefly  serious  concerning  them.  Associated  as  I 
was  with  men  who  were  working  with  their  hands  and 
were  constantly  risking  their  lives,  I  have  no  apology 
for  a  sympathetic  alignment  with  them  in  what  was  de- 
cided class  feeling.  In  my  immature  and  impulsive 
measurement  of  the  field  it  seemed  that  money  was  heart- 
lessly exploiting  the  people.  My  father  didn't  believe 
that  to  be  so  desperately  the  case.  Working  as  a  printer 
at  that  time,  he  joined  an  assembly  of  Knights  of  Labor 


with  whom  the  printers  were  affiliated;  then  had  a  trans- 
fer card  to  the  lodge  over  which  I  presided.  I  took  this 
to  be  a  paternal  desire  to  augment  our  roll.  But  since 
then  I  have  had  a  boy  of  my  own,  and  I  know  it  was  the 
supervision  of  an  affectionate  parent  who  felt  that  he 
must  move  somewhat  cautiously  to  influence  a  rather 
impulsive  son. 

Somewhere  in  his  reading  father  had  picked  up  the 
statement  that  when  Arkwright  invented  the  spinning- 
jenny  there  had  been  six  thousand  hand  spinners  in  Eng- 
land, and  that  fifty  years  after  the  machinery  was  in 
fair  operation  the  man-power  of  the  machines  represented 
the  work  of  six  hundred  million  spinners.  He  had  a  state- 
ment, probably  gathered  from  the  same  source,  or  one 
similar,  that  when  the  hand  spinners  were  undisturbed 
in  their  work  the  land  of  England  had  been  under  two 
hundred  and  fifty  thousand  separate  owners;  that  after 
machinery  had  been  in  use  fifty  years  the  land  of  Eng- 
land had  been  concentrated  into  the  possession  of  thirty- 
two  thousand  individual  and  corporate  ownerships.  I 
wasn't  able  to  make  any  profound  deduction  from  these 
two  facts,  but  I  remember  my  father  saying  to  me: 

"Suppose  we  both  were  hand  spinners  competing,  and 
that  I  suddenly  came  into  the  possession  of  a  machine 
that  could  do  the  work  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  men, 
where  would  you  be?  Suppose  I  made  money  enough 
to  buy  a  second  machine,  and  I  had  five  hundred  man- 
power to  oppose  against  the  output  of  your  two  hands." 

Somehow  he  felt  that  the  dominance  of  the  machine 
was  a  factor  in  its  present  status  that  threatened  civili- 
zation. He  wasn't  sufficiently  Chinese  to  wish  to  destroy 
the  machine,  nor  was  he  statesman  enough  or  political 
economist  enough  to  know  the  proper  answer;  perhaps 


there  isn't  anybody  at  Washington  or  Westminster  that 
can  give  it  now;  but  he  thought  he  saw  a  gleam  of 
promise  in  an  income  tax  that  could  be  wisely  used.  I 
had  a  groping  apprehension  of  what  he  was  trying  to 
work  out,  and  in  my  cart-tail  speeches  advocated  an  in- 
come tax. 

I  talked  it  in  every  political  campaign  thereafter  to 
which  I  was  admitted  or  tolerated.  America  could  not 
have  played  her  part  in  the  recent  World  War  without 
an  income  tax  which  enabled  her  to  take  excess  profits. 

To  jump  ahead  chronologically,  I  remember  meeting 
Mr.  Charles  Schwab  in  the  foyer  of  a  theatre  when  at 
his  wife's  solicitation  he  was  taking  a  half-day  off  from 
his  strenuous  work  in  the  war. 

With  the  utmost  cheerfulness,  he  said  to  me,  apropos 
of  the  government  assessments,  "I  have  to  make  one 
hundred  dollars  for  every  eleven  I  want  to  use  for  my- 

There  was  no  color  of  complaint  in  this,  but  rather  a 
pride  in  the  resourcefulness  of  his  country.  But  leaving 
the  question  of  income  tax  aside,  I  wonder  now  if  the 
insensate  machine,  still  encroaching  where  it  has  not  yet 
subdued,  isn't  largely  responsible  for  part  of  the  inter- 
national industrial  mess.  I  wonder  if  our  trouble  is  alto- 
gether a  friction  between  capital  and  labor — a  matter 
only  of  production  and  markets;  or  if  there  is  not  more 
obliquely  and  obscurely  some  trouble  still  in  that  old 
menace  that  my  father  thought  he  sighted. 

One  clause  at  that  time  in  the  constitution  of  the 
Knights  of  Labor  provided  that  no  lawyer  should  be  a 
member  of  the  order.  The  constitution  was  an  emana- 
tion of  Mr.  Powderly's  council,  and  I  shall  leave  to  him 
or  others  equally  wise  the  reason  for  this  precaution. 


But  by  the  automatic  action  of  that  clause,  when  I  en- 
tered the  law  office  of  John  Colby  to  study  law  I  had 
my  Washington's  Farewell  to  that  assembly. 

John  Peck  Colby  was  born  in  Nunda,  New  York.  He 
was  the  son  of  Luke  Colby,  a  Baptist  clergyman,  promi- 
nent in  educational  movements  of  the  day  and  identified 
with  several  institutes  of  learning  which  had  their  origin 
at  that  time. 

Young  John,  enlisting  in  the  Union  Army  in  the  Civil 
War,  attained  the  rank  of  captain.  At  the  close  of  the 
war  he  married  an  Elmira  girl,  Frances  Bainbridge,  re- 
lated to  Commodore  Bainbridge,  of  Mediterranean  fame, 
and  became  instructor  of  Latin  and  Greek  in  the  local 
academy.  After  he  was  admitted  to  the  bar  he  came 
to  St.  Louis  with  his  bride  to  establish  a  home. 

My  acquaintance  with  him  had  begun,  as  I  have  said 
before,  in  the  circle  of  artists  and  his  first  interest  in  me 
had  been  along  those  lines.  At  that  time  his  son,  Bain- 
bridge, was  not  quite  ten  years  of  age;  his  little  daughter, 
Lisle,  was  younger.  Mrs.  Frances  Bainbridge  Colby's 
father  also  was  a  clergyman — the  Reverend  Doctor  Bain- 
bridge, then  of  Elmira. 

As  John  used  to  say,  "It  was  seldom  that  one  saw  such 
eminent  piety  concentrated  in  one  family." 

In  the  law  office  I  found  the  books  unattractive,  but 
I  read  Blackstone's  "Commentaries,"  "Parsons  on  Con- 
tracts," and  the  other  ponderous  furniture  of  that  sombre 

If,  after  my  grandmother  and  my  own  parents,  I 
named  the  most  definite  personal  influence  I  had  known, 
I  should  say  it  was  probably  that  of  Mr.  John  Colby. 
With  the  habit  of  his  scholarly  precision,  he  was  very 
much  more  interested  in  the  style  of  anything  I  had  to 


compose  in  or  out  of  business  hours  than  he  was  in  its 
legal  accuracy.  In  both  art  and  letters  he  was  a  patient 
advocate  of  standards,  and  he  had  a  sensibility  natural 
and  cultivated  that  made  him  aware  of  any  influence 
having  a  tendency  to  depress  them.  He  had  a  love  of 
simple  Anglo-Saxon  and  a  sense  of  fitness  in  its  use  or 
propriety  in  its  elaboration.  His  reading  was  wide  and 
selectively  renewed,  and  he  had  that  capacity  for  quick 
association  or  analogy  that  the  psychologists  note  as  a 
prime  element  of  genius.  In  writing  of  his  influence  upon 
me  I  feel  that  I  may  claim  as  an  effect  of  it  only  an  "at- 
tention" on  my  part,  and  not  a  "forward  march." 

His  son,  Bainbridge,  was  a  sturdy  boy  with  a  well- 
balanced  interest  in  books  and  play,  and  in  the  first  days 
of  our  association  intensely  interested  in  my  railroad 
activities  and  his  occasional  chance  thereby  to  get  among 
the  cars  and  locomotives.  A  characteristic  quality  of 
the  boy  was  his  interest  in  affairs  and  his  capacity  for 
sustained  attention.  The  shipping  cards  on  the  side 
doors  of  the  cars  indicating  destinations  and  contents 
interested  him.  He  had  to  know  the  reasons  for  these 
supplies  going  to  certain  places;  the  original  shipping 
points  of  their  production;  the  interrelation  of  the  sec- 
tions of  the  country;  and  he  took  such  information  as  I 
was  able  to  give  and  made  such  pat  application  of  it  and 
such  thoughtful  associations  of  its  parts  that  it  was  a 
source  of  constant  astonishment  to  me.  His  father,  who 
was  a  wise  educator,  had  in  the  library  of  their  home  a 
large-sized  terrestrial  globe,  so  that  the  children  had  no 
distorted  ideas  of  the  relative  extents  of  the  different 
countries  such  as  most  of  us  get  in  school  from  the  inade- 
quate systems  of  maps.  Another  characteristic  of  the 
boy  was  in  the  kind  of  questions  he  used  to  put  to  his 


father.  I  remember  Colby,  Sr.,  showing  a  good-natured 
generalization  of  these  attacks  by  replying  to  the  first 
of  an  expected  bunch  of  volleyed  questions  by  a  prompt 
resort  to  the  established  stencil. 

He  said,  "The  gentleman  of  whom  you  ask  is  in  the 
woodenware  and  cooperage  business;  he  makes  barrels 
and  buckets;  he  sends  them  to  all  sections  of  the  coun- 
try; he  is  at  the  head  of  a  very  reputable  firm;  I  think 
they  do  a  large  business."  And  the  father  finished  with 
a  hearty  laugh  at  the  boy's  reception  of  this  short  circuit 
on  his  intent. 

All  that  delicate  culture  could  give  to  him  Bainbridge 
was  getting  from  that  household  and  its  atmosphere; 
personally  I  was  anxious  to  make  him  familiar  with  the 
rougher  edges  of  life.  My  attempts  at  this  often  ran 
counter  to  the  family's  ideas.  The  Fourth  of  July  was 
not  then  safe  or  sane,  but  their  careful  mother  kept  ex- 
plosives from  the  Colby  children.  There  can  never  be 
any  world  conflagration  in  which  Bainbridge  Colby, 
however  active  politically,  will  create  such  a  sensation 
as  he  did  on  our  first  Fourth  together  when  we  came 
back  from  the  corner  grocery,  young  Bainbridge  astride 
of  my  shoulders  and  holding  in  each  hand,  by  the  tail 
of  its  plaited  fuses,  a  package  of  exploding  firecrackers, 
which  of  course  very  safely  released  themselves  from 
the  string  before  they  fell  and  went  off  at  our  feet. 

At  that  time  in  Kansas  City  there  were  two  girls  to 
whom  George  Snell  and  I  used  to  write  from  St.  Louis. 
One  Sunday  we  planned  a  visit  to  them,  and  by  some 
relaxation  of  the  rules  I  had  persuaded  the  Colby  parents 
to  let  us  take  Bainbridge  along.  He  was  then  a  kid  of 
ten,  and  roughed  it  quite  manfully  with  us  overnight  in 
the  chair  car.  The  nearest  station  to  our  destination  in 


Kansas  City  was  a  stop  that  as  we  neared  it  we  learned 
had,  for  our  train,  been  cut  out;  but  we  felt  that  we 
would  not  go  by  at  a  speed  that  would  prevent  our 
getting  off.  Snell  took  his  place  on  the  steps  of  the  car 
in  front  of  us;  we — Bainbridge  and  I — were  on  the  plat- 
form immediately  after.  Following  instructions,  he  had 
his  arms  wrapped  around  my  neck  and  his  legs  around 
my  waist — I  had  a  waist  in  those  days.  I  dropped  on  to 
the  platform  all  right  with  the  boy  in  the  greatest  glee; 
but  the  speed  was  too  fast  for  Snell,  who  prudently  stuck 
to  the  train  as  he  blew  us  a  kiss  and  went  a  mile  farther 
on.  My  excuse  for  this  foolhardy  act  is  that  I  was  as 
ignorant  as  Caesar's  boatman  of  the  freight  I  carried. 
Bainbridge's  recital  of  this  experience  didn't  make  the 
hit  at  home  we  had  looked  for. 

My  father  had  taught  me  boxing  while  he  sat  on  a 
chair.  I  began  in  like  manner  to  teach  young  Bainbridge 
the  art.  This  was  as  contrary  to  the  church  precepts 
ruling  that  house  as  can  be  imagined;  but  at  irregular 
intervals  we  persisted.  When  Bainbridge  at  sixteen  left 
for  his  freshman  year  at  college  he  had  pretty  well  out- 
grown his  tutor.  I  don't  remember  whether  reports 
were  satisfactory  as  to  studies,  but  on  the  freshman  field- 
day  my  pupil  with  soft  gloves  knocked  out  two  men. 
I  have  seen  him  since  in  legal  and  political  contests,  and 
have  had  no  difficulty  in  persuading  myself  that  the 
stamina  there  invariably  shown  had  in  it  some  element 
of  our  earlier  work  together.  In  1916,  when  Mr.  Roose- 
velt tried  to  lead  the  Progressive  Party  back  into  the 
Republican  fold,  it  was  the  fighter  Colby  who  resisted 
that  unattractive  persuasion;  and  in  the  ensuing  cam- 
paign, when  Colby,  as  the  principal  unterrified  Progres- 
sive, canvassed  the  West  for  Wilson,  I  think  the  three 


deciding  votes  from  California  were  more  a  response  to 
the  pugilistic  antecedents  of  the  oratory  than  to  any 
theological  recollection.  Also  in  the  smoothly  lucid  and 
unmistakable  diction  of  his  diplomatic  communications 
I  thought  there  was  the  firmness  of  the  lad  who  knew 
how  to  keep  his  balance  and  to  put  up  his  hands. 

Colby,  Sr.,  was  very  sympathetic  with  my  scattering 
interests,  and  especially  with  my  play-writing  ambitions. 
Before  I  went  into  his  office,  and  as  a  sequence  to  my 
experience  in  our  North  St.  Louis  dramatic  club,  I  joined 
the  larger  McCuIIough  Club.  This  organization  of  ama- 
teurs, while  resembling  the  present  Comedy  Club  of 
New  York  and  the  Mask  and  Wig  of  Philadelphia,  had 
certain  distinctive  features  that  are  worth  considering. 
The  old  McCuIIough  Club  had  about  five  hundred  mem- 
bers, of  which  fifty  or  more  were  on  the  active  list.  Each 
member  paid  ten  dollars  a  winter,  and  for  that  received 
two  admissions  to  each  of  the  five  performances  in  a 
season.  The  plays  for  these  were  carefully  chosen,  and 
were  as  thoroughly  rehearsed  as  amateurs  can  rehearse, 
taking  two  or  three  nights  a  week  for  a  month.  A  regular 
theatre  was  rented  for  the  single  performance.  The 
mechanical  force  back  of  the  curtain  was  of  professional 
hands  from  the  regular  houses. 

Shortly  after  joining  the  club,  because  of  my  semi- 
professional  and  considerable  amateur  experience,  too,  I 
became  the  stage-manager  of  the  organization.  Any  one 
who  has  sympathized  with  my  allusions  to  financial  em- 
barrassment hitherto  will  feel  a  sense  of  relief  at  learning 
that  I  received  fifty  dollars  a  performance  for  rehearsing 
and  presenting  each  play.  As  this  work  was  done  out- 
side the  hours  of  other  employment,  it  was  what  was 
then  and  may  still  be  called  velvet. 


A  number  of  actors  who  achieved  fair  prominence, 
though  not  stellar  distinction,  were  graduated  from  that 
club.  William  Beaumont  Smith,  son  of  General  A.  J. 
Smith,  of  Vicksburg  and  Red  River  fame,  was  one  of  our 
members.  He  later  went  on  the  professional  stage  and 
was  for  many  years  a  popular  leading  man.  Guy  Linds- 
ley,  who  has  been  Mr.  Robert  Mantell's  leading  man,  was 
another  McCuIIough  Club  boy;  Mr.  Edgar  Smith,  for 
many  years  librettist  for  Weber  and  Fields,  and  now 
still  successful  as  dramatic  author,  was  another;  the  late 
W.  G.  Smythe,  who  was  the  first  manager  for  William 
Collier,  and  thereafter  for  many  years,  up  to  the  date 
of  his  death  in  September,  1921,  the  booking  manager 
for  the  Belasco  attractions,  was  a  McCuIIough  Club  actor; 
A.  G.  Robyn,  the  composer,  had  his  first  musical  work 
presented  by  members  of  this  company. 

In  those  days  there  was  an  old  play  called  "Mrs.  Wal- 
dron's  Bachelors,"  a  fifteen-cent  book  available  to  any 
amateur  and  without  copyright.  From  it  Mr.  Joseph 
Bradford  had  made  the  play  called  "Our  Bachelors,"  in 
which  Robson  and  Crane  were  starring.  There  is  an 
anecdote  of  this  author,  Joseph  Bradford,  who  was  a 
very  able  Boston  journalist,  that  should  not  be  lost. 
There  will  be  no  better  place  for  it  than  this. 

Bradford,  who  wrote  of  and  for  the  theatre,  had  a 
wish  to  play,  and  when  Adelaide  Neilson  came  to  that 
city  in  repertoire  the  management  arranged  for  Brad- 
ford to  go  on  in  the  small  part  of  Paris  in  "Romeo  and 
Juliet."  In  the  abridged  version  his  only  appearance 
was  as  the  bereaved  bridegroom  at  the  tomb  of  Juliet, 
where  he  encounters  Romeo  forcing  the  door  to  the  vault. 
Romeo,  interfered  with,  kills  Paris,  who  falls  and  speaks 
the  line,  "O,  I  am  slain!" 


Bradford  was  so  occupied  with  the  technic  of  being 
stabbed  and  falling  that  he  forgot  his  line.  He  not  only 
forgot  to  speak  it,  but  he  forgot  what  it  was,  until  some 
minutes  later,  when  Romeo  has  taken  the  poison  and  is 
dead,  and  Juliet,  kneeling  over  his  body,  is  bewailing 

At  this  point  the  interested  audience  was  astonished 
to  see  the  corpse  of  Paris  rise  to  its  elbow  and,  as  if  re- 
senting the  sympathy  that  was  being  showered  upon  the 
unhappy  Juliet,  exclaim,  "O,  I  am  slain!" 

The  house,  which  had  utterly  forgotten  the  unimpor- 
tant man  up  stage,  burst  into  a  chorus  of  laughter  which 
brought  down  the  curtain  on  the  unhappy  Adelaide. 

When  the  McCuIIough  Club  announced  "Mrs.  Wal- 
dron's  Bachelors'*  the  attorneys  for  the  Robson  and 
Crane  enterprise  endeavored  to  enjoin  the  performance 
legally,  but  the  amateurs  won  out.  Another  attempted 
injunction  was  when  the  club  put  on  "  Esmeralda,"  by 
Mrs.  Burnett  and  William  Gillette.  This  they  had  re- 
hearsed from  the  published  text  of  the  play  in  the  Cen- 
tury Magazine.  Our  present  copyright  law  was  not  in 
existence  then.  Legal  action  taken  to  protect  a  play  was 
based  upon  property  right  under  the  common  law,  but 
the  courts  were  reluctant  to  say  that  plays  printed  in 
magazines  had  not  been  printed  subject  to  any  use  that 
any  buyer  might  care  to  make  of  them.  In  both  of  these 
unauthorized  performances  I  had  the  leading  part. 

"Esmeralda"  was  played  by  the  club  only  a  few  weeks 
before  the  regular  Madison  Square  Company  came  to 
St.  Louis  with  the  drama.  One  of  the  local  papers,  the 
Spectator,  in  criticising  the  professional  company,  said 
that  the  performance  of  old  man  Rogers  by  Mr.  John  E. 
Owens  had  not  been  so  good  as  that  of  the  same  part  by 


Mr.  Thomas  of  the  amateurs.  John  E.  Owens,  the  fa- 
mous Solon  Shingle,  was  one  of  the  foremost  comedians 
of  the  country,  and  this  treatment  of  him  was  not  to  be 
tolerated  by  the  management.  A  controversy  ensued 
which  lasted  while  the  company  was  there,  and  was  then 
forgotten.  I  rather  egotistically  make  a  note  of  it  be- 
cause years  later  it  was  the  basis  of  a  pretty  act  of  gen- 
erosity on  the  part  of  Mr.  Owens. 

A  moving  spirit  in  the  McCuIIough  Club — in  its  or- 
ganization, its  management,  and  in  its  active  expression 
— was  Wayman  McCreery,  now  dead.  I  am  sure  that 
ten  thousand  of  his  surviving  contemporaries  in  the  city 
of  St.  Louis  will  remember  Wayman  McCreery.  Few 
men  are  so  physically  and  intellectually  equipped  as  he 
was.  There  was  nothing  that  an  athlete  could  do  with 
his  body  that  in  a  notable  degree  Wayman  McCreery 
could  not  do.  He  was  boxer,  wrestler,  fencer,  runner, 
and  swimmer,  and  all-round  athlete.  In  addition  to  these 
he  was  a  graceful  step  dancer.  Intellectually  he  was 
equipped  with  a  college  training  and  had  an  interest  in 
everything  that  interested  the  intelligent  people  of  his 
day.  He  sang  well  enough  to  be  a  leading  tenor  in  a 
fashionable  choir.  He  wrote  music  of  good  quality.  He 
was  the  author  of  the  opera  "L'Afrique,"  which  was 
first  done  by  amateurs  in  St.  Louis  and  subsequently 
produced  in  New  York,  although  with  not  very  great 
success,  by  Jesse  Williams.  McCreery  will  be  remem- 
bered by  the  sporting  world  as  the  inventor  of  the  three- 
cushion  game  of  billiards,  of  which  he  was  at  one  time 
the  national  champion.  As  Hugh  Chalcot  in  Robertson's 
comedy  "Ours"  it  would  have  taken  a  professional  to 
equal  him.  Another  part  of  McCreery 's  was  Captain 
Hawtree  in  "Caste,"  by  the  same  author. 


The  Colby  children,  like  all  youngsters,  were  attracted 
by  such  knowledge  of  the  world  behind  the  curtain  as 
our  home  talk  developed  and  as  an  occasional  peep  be- 
hind scenes  would  emphasize.  As  is  commonly  the  case 
also,  the  little  girl's  interest  was  the  greater.  One  day 
she  brought  to  me  a  copy  of  St.  Nicholas  with  Mrs.  Bur- 
nett's story  of  "Editha's  Burglar." 

"Don't  you  think,"  she  asked,  "that  would  make  a 
pretty  play?" 

With  the  addition  of  the  dramatic  element  by  having 
the  burglar  be  the  child's  father,  it  did  make  a  pretty 
play,  the  first  of  mine  to  be  done  professionally  and  to 
be  produced  in  New  York. 

Theatricals,  amateur  and  semiprofessional,  gradually 
claimed  more  and  more  attention,  so  that  when  I  finally 
told  Mr.  Colby  that  I  thought  the  cast  in  the  law-books 
was  too  short,  that  nothing  could  be  done  with  John 
Doe  and  Richard  Roe,  and  that  the  love  interest  was 
entirely  lacking,  he  made  no  objection  to  my  accepting 
the  offer  of  Mr.  Charles  R.  Pope  to  go  into  the  box-office 
of  his  new  theatre. 

Charles  R.  Pope  had  been  a  partner  with  Mr.  Charles 
Spalding  in  the  ownership  of  the  old  Olympic.  The  men 
had  separated  for  some  reason,  and  Mr.  Pope  had  built 
Pope's  Theatre  on  the  site  of  the  late  Century  Theatre 
in  St.  Louis.  Pope's  Theatre  was  rather  economically 
constructed  by  making  a  playhouse  out  of  a  church  that 
stood  there.  Mr.  Pope  was  without  capital;  he  financed 
his  enterprise  by  the  issuance  of  a  number  of  subscribers' 
tickets  which  admitted  the  holders  to  two  performances 
a  week  at  a  reduced  rate.  These  tickets  were  not  un- 
like the  old-time  commutation  tickets  on  a  railroad,  with 
margins  of  serial  numbers  to  be  punched  as  the  tickets 


were  used.  Visiting  companies  objected  to  this  bargain- 
counter  finance,  and  these  tickets  were  the  occasion  of 
endless  trouble. 

Before  managing  the  Olympic  with  Spalding,  Charles 
Pope  had  been  a  tragedian  of  considerable  prominence, 
especially  in  the  West.  He  was  a  man  of  heroic  figure, 
stentorian  voice,  and  a  method  plainly  founded  on  Edwin 
Forrest's.  At  both  the  Olympic  and  Pope's  Theatre  he 
continued  to  appear  when  the  opportunity  offered  or  the 
emergency  required.  His  wife  was  Margaret  Macauley, 
a  member  of  the  well-known  Kentucky  family  of  that 
name.  Her  brother,  Daniel  Macauley,  the  senior  of  the 
family,  had  been  a  general  in  the  Union  Army  and  won 
distinction.  A  second  brother,  Barney  Macauley,  was 
one  of  the  foremost  actors  of  his  day.  A  still  younger 
brother  was  John,  who  ultimately  became  the  sole  owner 
of  Macauley's  Theatre  in  Louisville,  in  which  all  the 
brothers  had  been  jointly  interested. 

Mr.  Pope's  financial  troubles  in  St.  Louis  were  not 
confined  to  the  commutation  reductions  which  he  was 
occasionally  required  to  make  up,  and  the  men  in  his 
box-office  had  an  intimate  acquaintance  with  the  amus- 
ing financial  finesse  then  customary  in  theatrical  circles. 
Then,  as  now,  among  bills  paid  by  the  resident  manager 
were  those  of  the  bill-poster.  Our  St.  Louis  bill-poster 
was  a  rough,  truculent,  good-hearted  person  named  Cot- 
trell,  who  might  have  stepped  out  of  that  group  of  pirates 
in  "Treasure  Island"  as  far  as  his  appearance  was  con- 
cerned, and  very  often  Pope  wished  he  would  go  back. 
Besides  his  bristling  mustache  and  black  beard,  he  had 
a  gin-and-fog  voice  that  would  have  frightened  any  nur- 
sery. It  was  the  duty  of  us  men  at  the  window,  when 
we  saw  Cottrell  coming  to  collect  his  bills,  to  flag  the 


owner,  who  would  then  flatten  himself  against  the  inner 
wall  and  stay  out  of  sight. 

On  one  occasion,  however,  Cottrell  was  too  quick  for 
the  manoeuvre,  and  caught  Mr.  Pope  on  an  early  after- 
noon when — as  we  knew — there  was  no  money  in  the 
bank,  none  in  the  box-office,  and  no  prospect  for  the  eve- 
ning. Cottrell  wanted  his  bill.  Pope's  histrionic  train- 
ing stood  him  in  stead. 

Pushing  the  treasurer  aside,  he  leaned  on  the  box- 
office  window-sill  and  said:  "Where  are  those  stands 
and  three  sheets,  Mr.  Cottrell,  for  whose  posting  you 
are  demanding  payment?" 

Cottrell  made  the  expected  reply  that  they  were  on 
the  billboards  throughout  the  city. 

"Well,"  said  Mr.  Pope,  "I  want  my  paper  to  be  put 
on  the  walls  where  the  people  are  and  where  the  car  lines 

This  metrical  diction  into  which  Pope  in  his  blank- 
verse  training  always  drifted  in  his  moments  of  dignity 
elicited  from  Cottrell  the  reply  that  the  bills  were  there 
in  the  places  Pope  had  described. 

"I  want  to  see  them." 

"Well,  how  can  you  see  them?" 

"I  can  see  them  by  your  getting  a  horse  and  buggy 
and  driving  me  over  the  route." 

Cottrell  belligerently  agreed  to  do  this,  and  the  trip 
was  made.  When  the  two  men  came  back  it  was  past 
banking  hours.  Pope  proudly  gave  him  a  check  that 
could  not  be  offered  for  payment  until  an  evening  had 
intervened,  in  which  he  could  scout  among  his  friends 
for  cash. 

As  theatre  manager,  the  old  tragedian,  not  always  in 
the  best  of  health,  made  a  gallant  fight,  not  only  against 


the  burden  of  the  cut-rate  tickets  he  had  discounted  but 
against  Spalding  and  Norton  of  the  two  competing 
houses,  who  combined  against  him.  He  finally  won  out 
and  sold  his  theatre  at  a  profit  on  his  time  and  trouble. 
When  Harrison  was  elected  to  the  presidency,  Mr.  Pope 
became  our  United  States  consul  at  Toronto,  where  his 
fine  presence,  his  dignified  bearing,  his  knowledge  of 
modern  languages,  and  the  bonhomie  of  the  old  trouper 
made  him  as  fine  a  national  representative  as  we  had 
at  any  European  court. 

There  was  not  always  good  business  at  Pope's  Theatre. 
As  in  other  playhouses,  we  had  idle  times,  when  a  man 
in  the  box-office  had  little  to  do.  In  those  days  there 
was  not  in  St.  Louis  any  rapid-fire  photo-engraving  es- 
tablishment. Any  pictures  wanted  quickly  for  a  news- 
paper could  be  turned  out  more  promptly  by  the  local 
wood-engravers,  of  whom  there  were  several.  Many 
otherwise  idle  hours  in  the  box-office  I  was  able  to  occupy 
profitably  on  such  occasional  illustrations. 

There  are  few  occupations  more  fascinating  than  to 
draw  upon  boxwood.  This  material,  which  comes  in 
blocks  type  high  and  varying  from  the  width  of  the  news- 
paper column  to  four  or  five,  as  desired,  is  made  of  little 
sections,  each  not  more  than  a  square-inch  in  size, 
dowelled  together  more  tightly  than  marquetry  in  furni- 
ture is  joined.  The  surface  of  this  assembled  block  is 
pumiced  to  a  delightful  smoothness,  having  enough  grain, 
however,  while  imperceptible  to  the  touch,  to  take  a 
pencil-point  without  slipping.  As  it  comes  to  the  drafts- 
man, it  has  the  natural-wood  color  not  unlike  the  tint 
of  freshly  planed  pine.  Over  this  one  throws  a  light  wash 
of  water-color  white.  The  surface  then  is  good  for  either 
pencil  or  brush. 


When  one  has  finished  his  drawing  by  either  of  these 
methods,  the  wood-engraver  cuts  out  all  the  portions  of 
the  block  that  are  meant  to  be  white  in  the  reproduction 
— that  is  to  say,  meant  not  to  print  at  all — and  leaves 
the  rest.  If  he  left  the  rest  unchanged,  however,  it  would 
print  a  solid  black  silhouette.  The  engraver's  skill  lies 
in  so  breaking  this  surface  as  to  get  by  the  use  of  alter- 
nating black  and  white  lines  the  various  shades  the  artist 
intended.  The  simplest  understanding  of  this  will  be  by 
considering  an  outline  drawing  only,  but  done  in  pencil, 
which  of  course  is  gray  and  not  black.  If  the  engraver 
left  this  line  unbroken  it  would  print  black,  however, 
and  resemble  a  pen  stroke  and  not  the  mark  of  a  pencil. 
But  wishing  to  give  the  pencil  effect,  he  traverses  the  line 
on  his  block  with  a  sufficient  number  of  tiny  cut-out 
spaces  to  get  resemblance  to  the  pencil  mark. 

As  an  example  of  a  pencil  drawing  upon  a  piece  of  box- 
wood so  treated  that  the  gray  reproduction  resembles 
the  pencil,  there  is  given  here  an  outline  cut  that  has  a 
story.  At  the  time  of  which  I  am  talking  there  was  a 
young  man  in  New  York  named  Freddie  Gebhard,  who 
came  into  sudden  prominence  through  his  admiration 
for  and  attentions  to  a  world-renowned  actress  then 
visiting  America.  As  I  remember,  Mr.  Gebhard's  enthu- 
siasm did  not  have  the  approval  of  his  father,  and  nearly 
all  the  newspapers  felt  distressed  about  it.  Despite  these 
solicitudes  Mr.  Gebhard  joined  the  lady  in  her  various 
professional  engagements  throughout  the  country.  The 
people  called  him  a  dude. 

Few  of  us  now  remember  what  were  the  distinguish- 
ing characteristics  of  a  dude  forty  years  ago,  when  the 
name  was  adopted.  The  principal  ones  were  that  he 
should  wear  very  tight  trousers,  a  black  cutaway  coat, 


the  beetle  tails  of  which  protruded  some  six  inches  below 
a  short  tan-colored  box-cloth  overcoat  of  very  easy  di- 
mensions. Besides  these  sartorial  marks,  a  dude  was 
supposed  to  be  somewhat  of  a  sapling  and  lacking  in 
manly  fibre. 

A  morning  paper  in  St.  Louis  had  on  its  editorial  staff 
at  that  time  a  man  named  Cunningham,  reputed  to  be 
a  person  of  physical  courage  and  a  dangerous  man  to 
provoke.  Some  of  the  things  that  Mr.  Cunningham 
wrote  about  Mr.  Gebhard's  St.  Louis  visit  displeased 
that  gentleman.  Gebhard  inquired  concerning  the  writer, 
learned  his  name  and  reputation,  and  then,  before  a  con- 
siderable group  of  spectators  one  evening  just  after  din- 
ner in  the  corridor  of  the  Southern  Hotel,  walked  up  to 
Mr.  Cunningham  and  very  soundly  slapped  his  face. 
Something  in  the  way  in  which  he  did  this  convinced 
the  observers  that  it  had  been  intentional  and  premedi- 
tated, and  had  respectable  force  of  character  behind  it. 
Nothing  was  done  about  it  except  some  extended  reports 
by  the  rival  papers. 

Mr.  Gebhard  stepped  into  a  kind  of  public  respect. 
It  was  not  possible  to  get  pictures  of  him.  He  didn't 
want  notoriety.  As  the  story  above  would  indicate,  he 
rather  resented  it.  A  weekly  paper  in  the  city  asked  me 
to  get  a  drawing  of  him  from  memory.  It  wasn't  a  good 
plan  to  ask  him  to  pose.  It  was  learned  that  Mr.  Geb- 
hard had  for  the  week  a  certain  seat  three  rows  from  the 
orchestra  rail  which  he  occupied  every  night  his  friend 
the  actress  played.  This  seat  was  on  the  right  aisle  of 
the  parquet  near  the  trap  drummer.  By  an  arrange- 
ment with  that  member  of  the  orchestra  I  got  a  chair 
in  his  corner  from  which  I  could  see  Mr.  Gebhard,  and 
in  that  manner  the  pencil  drawing  was  made.  It  is  of- 


fered  now  as  a  point  d'appui  for  this  story,  and  as  an 
example  of  a  wood-engraver's  line  that  looks  like  lead- 

A  really  fine  wood-engraver  is  an  artist  of  a  very  su- 
perior type,  excelling  in  real  technical  knowledge  his 
brothers  of  the  brush  or  chisel;  but  he  is  becoming  in- 
creasingly rare,  as  the  photographic  and  autographic 
processes  of  illustration  drive  his  work  from  the  maga- 
zines and  papers.  Fifty  years  ago,  when  Blanchard  Jer- 
rold,  son  of  Douglas  Jerrold,  wrote  his  "London  Pil- 
grimage," in  1872,  and  Gustave  Dore  illustrated  it  so 
splendidly,  there  were  three  or  four  wood-engravers  work- 
ing upon  the  illustrations,  whose  production  deserved  and 
gained  as  much  if  not  more  praise  than  the  work  of  Dore 

The  last  of  the  great  American  wood-engravers  is  the 
veteran  Timothy  Cole,  now  living  at  Poughkeepsie,  New 
York,  and  in  his  seventieth  year  still  working  impor- 
tantly at  his  profession.  The  superlative  skill  of  Timothy 
Cole  won  for  him  membership  in  the  American  Academy 
of  Arts  and  Letters.  The  best  collected  records  we  have 
of  the  old  masters  of  Italy,  Holland,  England,  Spain, 
and  France  are  his  wood-engravings,  for  which  he  has 
had  gold  medals  at  the  Paris,  Chicago,  and  St.  Louis 
expositions.  It  would  be  impossible  on  the  printing- 
presses  that  run  off  our  great  weekly  and  daily  editions, 
going  into  the  hundred  thousands  in  one  issue,  to  show 
the  finest  example  of  a  wood-engraver's  art.  Such  pic- 
tures, delicately  printed  on  Japanese  paper,  and  properly 
mounted,  enrich  the  collection  of  connoisseurs. 

The  most  simplified  process  of  reproduction  available 
to  draftsmen  of  St.  Louis  became  common  about  this 
time.  It  employed  paper  overlaid  with  starch  in  solu- 



tfon.  The  paper  was  toothed  or  pebbled  to  take  the 
mark  of  the  greasy  lithographic  crayon.  A  drawing  made 
upon  it  was  turned  face  downward  upon  a  lithographic 
stone  and  passed  beneath  a  hot  roller  under  considerable 
pressure.  The  heat  and  pressure  transferred  the  greasy 
crayon  to  the  lithographic  stone,  which  was  then  used 
as  if  the  drawing  had  been  made  directly  upon  it,  and 
produced  the  ordinary  lithograph  with  but  a  slight  loss 
of  value  from  the  drawing  made  upon  the  paper.  This 
process  was  used  in  the  production  of  the  cartoon  of 
which  a  reduction  is  shown. 

There  are  two  or  three  interesting  facts  connected 
with  this  cartoon.  To  the  best  of  my  belief  it  was  the 
first  political  cartoon  printed  in  St.  Louis  of  Mr.  Joseph 
Pulitzer,  the  eminent  publisher  and  organizer  of  the 
present  New  York  World.  Pulitzer,  in  1880,  the  date 
of  this  cartoon,  had  not  yet  purchased  the  old  New  York 
World,  and  had  but  recently  acquired  the  St.  Louis  Post- 
Dispatch,  of  which  he  was  proprietor  and  editor. 

He  and  others  in  St.  Louis  were  joining  in  an  attack 
begun  by  Major  Emery  S.  Foster,  editor  and  proprietor 
of  the  St.  Louis  World,  against  a  political  conspiracy 
known  as  the  Dark-Lantern  Ring,  engaged  in  the  sale 
of  political  nominations. 

The  directing  mind  of  this  conspiracy  was  said  to  be 
a  politician  named  Lancaster.  He  was  assisted  by  an 
aggressive  little  attorney  named  Frank  Turner  and  a 
blacksmith  named  Edward  Butler,  who  was  at  the  head 
of  the  political  machine.  Lancaster,  Turner,  and  Butler 
are  in  the  front  row  of  the  cartoon  in  the  order  named, 
and  Butler  is  pictured  as  knocking  out  of  the  ring  State 
Senator  Cable,  one  of  the  beneficiaries  of  their  combina- 
tion, who  had  indiscreetly  talked  too  much  about  it. 


Outside  of  the  ring  and  looking  in  are  depicted  Colonel 
William  Hyde,  then  editor  of  the  Missouri  Republican; 
and  Mr.  Joseph  Pulitzer,  who  with  Colonel  Hyde  was 
endeavoring  to  correct  the  corrupt  conditions. 

Major  Emery  S.  Foster,  who  had  won  distinction  in 
the  Northern  Army,  was  a  modest  but  very  notable  figure 
in  St.  Louis.  In  the  Civil  War  he  had  been  captured  by 
Quantrell's  Guerillas  and  was  said  to  be  the  only  Union 
prisoner  released  by  this  band,  who  made  a  practice  of 
giving  no  quarter. 

His  escape  was  due  to  one  of  those  border  romances 
which  the  public  are  apt  to  think  inventions  of  the 
novelist  and  the  playwright,  and  a  fine  example  of  which 
was  interwoven  in  Mr.  William  Gillette's  war  play,  "  Held 
by  the  Enemy." 

In  the  Quantrell  group  of  James  boys  and  Younger 
brothers  was  one  man  who  knew  the  captured  Foster, 
as  he  and  Foster  were  rivals  for  the  hand  of  the  same 
girl.  With  her  in  mind,  this  Quantrell  guerilla  had  asked 
for  the  life  of  Foster,  and  being  granted  this  by  Quantrell 
had  conducted  Major  Foster  outside  the  lines  and  given 
him  his  liberty.  This  particular  Southerner  still  lives; 
and  the  lady  in  question,  now  his  wife,  is  also  living. 

Major  Foster,  at  the  close  of  the  war,  became  the  editor 
of  the  St.  Louis  Journal.  A  very  personal  editorial  at- 
tacking him  appeared  one  morning  in  the  St.  Louis 
Times,  of  which  ex-Confederate  Major  John  Edwards 
was  the  editor.  Foster  immediately  challenged  Edwards, 
and  the  two  men  met  upon  the  Illinois  side  of  the  Missis- 
sippi, some  few  miles  above  St.  Louis.  At  the  first  shot 
Edwards'  bullet  went  wild;  Foster's  bullet  went  through 
Edwards'  hat,  grazing  his  scalp. 

While  the  seconds  were  reloading  the  pistols  Foster 


walked  over  to  Edwards  and  put  out  his  hand,  saying, 
"Edwards,  you  and  I  are  a  pair  of  damn  fools." 

Edwards  conducted  Foster  to  a  log  near  by,  sat  down 
with  him,  and  then  told  Foster  that  he  had  nothing  what- 
ever to  do  with  the  editorial;  that  he  had  gone  home 
and  was  in  his  bed  when  Stilson  Hutchins,  the  proprietor, 
himself  had  come  into  the  office  and  written  the  objec- 
tionable publication.  Edwards,  however,  true  to  the 
ethics  of  the  time,  had  accepted  the  responsibility  of  his 

Another  group  of  readers  will  remember  Major  Foster 
as  the  man  who  in  that  same  St.  Louis  Journal  first  made 
and  repeated  the  charges  that  led  to  the  expose  of  what 
was  known  as  the  Whiskey  Ring,  in  Grant's  Adminis- 
tration. That  was  not  a  band  of  bootleggers  engaged  as 
now  in  supplying  a  thirsty  community,  but  was  a  com- 
bination contriving  the  evasion  of  the  internal  revenue 
tax  upon  spirits.  In  the  prosecution  of  that  ring  General 
Grant  appointed  as  attorney  ex-Senator  John  B.  Hender- 
son, previously  referred  to  in  connection  with  incidents 
at  Jefferson  City.  As  the  investigation  in  court  pro- 
ceeded and  involved  General  Orville  E.  Babcock,  who 
was  the  President's  private  secretary,  Henderson,  boast- 
ing indifference  to  where  the  investigation  led,  said  that 
he  was  not  among  those  "to  bend  the  pregnant  hinges  of 
the  knee  that  thrift  may  follow  fawning."  Over  his  im- 
plied defiance  Grant  had  promptly  removed  Mr.  Hender- 
son from  his  position,  and  General  Babcock,  on  a  de- 
position from  President  Grant,  was  acquitted. 

At  the  time  I  was  making  these  drawings  for  Major 
Foster  in  that  campaign  he  was  a  soldierly-looking  figure 
in  his  early  fifties.  He  had  a  fine  face,  good  brow,  clear- 
cut,  aquiline  nose,  fine  open  eyes,  perhaps  accentuated 


in  their  gaze,  and  sharpened  slightly  in  appearance  be- 
cause of  the  gold-rimmed  spectacles  which  he  always 
wore.  The  lower  part  of  his  face  indicated  a  substantial 
modelling  beneath  his  short  beard  and  mustache.  He 
looked  in  every  turn  and  expression  the  thoughtful,  culti- 
vated, amiable  gentleman  that  he  was,  with  an  ever- 
present  suggestion  of  proper  determination. 


It  is  difficult  for  a  reader  to  measure  the  happiness  of 
a  young  man  for  whom  the  theatre  has  been  the  objec- 
tive when  he  finds  himself  ensconced  in  a  quasi-adminis- 
trative position  in  a  genuine  playhouse.  As  assistant 
treasurer  it  was  my  duty  to  open  up  the  box-office  in  the 
morning,  to  see  that  the  bill-poster  and  his  assistants  re- 
ceived the  paper  which  the  advance  man  brought  in  his 
bill  trunk;  that  the  boys  connected  with  the  theatre 
had  their  supply  of  hangers,  lithographs  and  half  sheets 
that  were  to  go  into  the  windows  of  saloons,  barber  shops, 
and  hotels;  to  see  that  the  scrub-women  reported  on 
time  and  were  at  work;  to  sort  the  mail  for  the  visiting 
company  and  send  that  of  the  players  to  the  stage  door. 

These  duties  carried  one  all  over  the  building  after  the 
treasurer  arrived  to  relieve  the  assistant,  and  excuses 
might  even  be  made  for  visiting  and  looking  over  the 
paint  frame.  Every  theatre  at  that  time  had  its  resi- 
dent artist.  His  shop  was  in  the  fly  gallery;  his  studio 
was  a  bridge  at  the  back  wall  of  the  building,  against 
which  a  movable  frame  carried  his  colossal  canvases  up 
and  down.  This  artist  was  expected  to  get  up  each  week 
the  scenes  for  the  coming  attraction.  It  must  not  be 
supposed  that  he  made  a  complete  production  in  that 
time.  He  had  at  his  command  a  more  or  less  sufficient 
stock  of  scenery  always  stored  away  in  a  room  adjoining 
and  accessible  to  the  stage,  with  an  opening  between, 
high  enough  to  admit  the  flat  scenes  riding  upright;  this 



storeroom  was  called  the  dock.  It  properly  contained 
the  more  usual  scenes  of  the  mid- Victorian  drama;  the 
parlor  or  centre-door  fancy,  kitchen,  baronial  chamber, 
castle  interior  and  exterior,  pents  flat,  a  street,  a  gar- 
den, cut-wood,  forest,  and  horizon  drops.  To  hold  and 
change  these  scenes  the  stage  was  arranged  with  runs 
and  grooves.  These  were  sets  of  wooden  guide  tracks 
on  the  stage  and  adjustable  grooves  corresponding  some 
eighteen  feet  above,  arranged  in  groups  about  four  feet 
apart,  beginning  at  the  curtain  line  and  numerically 
designated.  Their  terminology  still  governs  in  the 
theatre.  An  actor  entered  or  made  his  exit  in  One,  Two, 
Three,  or  Four,  right  or  left,  as  the  case  might  be,  or  up 
centre.  He  still  does  so,  although  the  grooves  with  their 
old  sliding  scenes  that  were  pushed  on  to  meet  in  the 
middle,  and  separated  to  be  quickly  drawn  off  for  a 
change  of  scene,  have  disappeared. 

It  was  upon  this  customary  stock  of  scenery  that  the 
scenic  artist  depended,  supplementing  it  from  time  to 
time  with  some  new  scene,  of  which  sufficient  warning 
would  generally  be  given,  painted  upon  new  canvas  and 
construction,  or  painted  over  one  of  the  old  scenes  that 
was  seldom  called  for. 

At  the  time  of  which  Pm  talking  the  old  runs  and 
grooves  existed  in  Pope's  Theatre,  but  were  beginning 
to  disappear  from  other  houses  projected  at  about  that 
time.  They  gave  way  to  the  clear  stage  with  boxed 
scenes  now  so  common  and  which  are  supported  in  panels 
by  stage  braces  set  behind  each  panel,  with  the  panels 
held  together  by  lashings  hung  from  the  top  and  falling 
over  alternating  cleats  on  the  two  joining  edges. 

Our  paint  frame  at  Pope's  Theatre  was  presided  over 
by  Ernest  Albert,  an  artist  to-day,  both  in  the  theatre 

and  in  the  gallery,  of  international  reputation.  His  as- 
sistant was  a  blond  and  gentle  lad  named  Frank  E.  Gates, 
son  of  the  old  Si  Gates  who  for  many  years  was  in  charge 
of  the  stage  at  the  old  Olympic.  Frank  Gates  is  now  at 
the  head  of  one  of  the  largest  scenic  studios  of  New  York. 

The  brilliant  artist,  Ernest  Albert,  was  not  much,  if 
any,  older  than  myself.  He  was  a  member  of  our  St. 
Louis  Sketch  Club,  and  there  was  always  between  us  a 
real  artistic  sympathy.  It  is  probably  because  I  knew 
what  Albert  was  trying  to  do  and  what  he  succeeded  in 
doing  when  physical  conditions  permitted  that  many  of 
the  hours  during  which  I  was  relieved  from  my  watch 
in  the  box-office  I  was  allowed  to  put  in  on  the  paint 
frame,  where  with  an  eagerness  that  equalled  any  pro- 
tege of  Tom  Sawyer's  I  found  delight  in  spreading  flat 
colors  on  the  immense  canvases. 

Before  the  speculators  and  the  agencies  intervened, 
and  when  the  patrons  of  the  theatre  got  their  seats  at 
the  box-office  by  a  diagram  on  which  they  were  permitted 
to  make  their  choice,  there  were  few  places  of  business 
so  interesting  to  the  occupant  as  was  the  old  box-office. 
In  ordinary  times,  from  the  hour  that  it  opened  up  until 
the  window  was  pulled  down  for  the  day,  there  was  no 
such  clearing-house  for  gossip,  not  even  excepting  the 
celebrated  rural  sewing  circle. 

Pope's  Theatre  at  Ninth  and  Olive  streets  was  outside 
the  important  business  district,  although  upon  a  street 
of  the  smaller  and  more  exclusive  shops.  Also  the  most 
fashionable  car-line  of  the  city  was  double-tracked  past 
its  doors.  Across  Ninth  Street  to  its  left  were  a  post- 
office  and  custom-house,  in  their  fine  new  granite  struc- 
ture, grand  for  that  time.  Facing  the  theatre  immediately 
across  Olive  Street  was  Pierre  Lambert's  three-story 


French  Restaurant  Porcher,  with  its  iron  balconies  along 
the  front  in  Southern  fashion  and  its  wide  stairway  with 
ornamental  railings  of  cast-iron  grape-vines  leading  to 
the  first  porch. 

Hancock  the  Superb  had  just  been  defeated  for  the 
presidency,  and  sought  a  semi-retirement  in  one  of  the 
two  or  three  apartments  run  in  connection  with  this 
Restaurant  Porcher.  At  the  hour  of  nine,  when  we  were 
to  open  up  in  the  morning,  the  picturesque  general,  wear- 
ing his  Ben  Butler  hat,  was  often  coming  in  leisurely 
fashion  to  the  sidewalk  from  this  building.  Men  who 
remember  the  Hancock  campaign  will  recall  Tom  Nast's 
cartoon  of  Hancock  seated  on  a  platform  with  a  placard 
on  the  wall  behind  him — A  Tariff  for  Revenue  Only. 
Hancock  was  depicted  as  leaning  over  to  his  neighbor 
and  privately  asking,  "Who  is  Tariff  and  why  is  he  for 
revenue  only?" 

The  country  was  then  laughing  at  Hancock's  declara- 
tion that  the  tariff  was  a  local  issue.  The  subsequent 
alignment  on  the  tariff  question  of  widely  separated  com- 
munities as  soon  as  they  became  interested  in  some  local 
manufacture  indicated  that  Hancock  was  more  nearly 
right  than  were  his  critics.  Perhaps  it  was  his  courage 
that  inspired  Andrew  Carnegie,  one  of  the  tariff's  greatest 
beneficiaries,  to  say,  somewhat  later,  that  "the  tariff 
was  the  mother  of  the  trusts." 

At  the  theatre  business  men  of  some  degree  of  leisure 
and  independence  walking  down  from  the  residence  dis- 
tricts in  the  morning  would  stop  in  for  their  reservations. 
Others  would  hurriedly  drop  off  a  car  for  the  same  pur- 
pose. After  the  first  run  of  buyers  for  the  ordinary  at- 
traction, and  when  the  lobby  had  then  quieted  down 
to  the  occasional  straggler,  the  early  afternoon  news- 


paper  men  came  by.  They  were  followed  by  the  bill 
collectors  and  local  advertisers.  About  eleven  the  fash- 
ionable women,  married  and  unmarried,  made  their  calls. 
It  may  be  that  the  visiting  actors  showing  up  at  about 
that  time  had  some  determining  influence.  During  the 
lunch-hour  there  would  be  a  run  of  the  clerks  and  book- 
keepers who  tucked  a  call  at  the  theatre  into  the  noon 
recess.  After  2:30  big  boys  and  girls  from  the  high  school 
came  into  the  lobby  to  look  at  the  pictures.  Later  the 
brokers  walking  home  and  the  ladies  combining  a  call 
with  their  other  shopping  would  drop  in.  Then  there 
were  always  members  of  the  half-idle  contingent  who 
found  the  lobby  an  excellent  place  to  waste  some  portion 
of  every  day. 

I  don't  know  why  it  is,  but  there  has  always  seemed 
to  be  a  strong  affinity  between  the  young  men  in  the  box- 
office  and  the  snare  drummer  in  the  orchestra.  There 
were  two  drummers  of  considerable  reputation  in  Pope's 
orchestra  during  my  time.  One  was  Le  Grand  White, 
the  first  husband  of  Minnie  Maddern  Fiske,  married 
romantically  in  St.  Louis  during  her  first  starring  en- 
gagement. Miss  Maddern  had  met  Mr.  White  through 
her  uncle,  Dick  Maddern,  who  was  then  the  conductor 
in  Pope's  Theatre  orchestra.  The  other  drummer,  who 
succeeded  White,  was  Frank  David,  who  came  to  the 
lobby  every  afternoon  to  give  comic  imitations  and  prac- 
tise dance  steps  on  the  tiled  pavement.  A  few  years 
later  Frank  was  for  a  short  time  the  most  prominent 
comedian  on  Broadway,  having  made  a  phenomenal  hit 
in  the  comic  opera  "The  Pyramids."  Another  orchestra 
leader  at  Pope's  was  William  Witthers,  who  had  been  the 
conductor  of  the  orchestra  at  Ford's  Theatre  in  Wash- 
ington on  the  night  Lincoln  was  shot. 


Opposite  the  theatre,  a  little  farther  up  the  same  block 
with  the  Restaurant  Porcher,  was  the  photograph  gal- 
lery of  Mr.  Fox.  Mr.  Fox  was  the  father  of  two  daugh- 
ters. Lily  Fox,  the  elder,  then  about  sixteen  years  old, 
was  one  of  the  prize  beauties  of  the  city.  She  had  a  face 
that  would  have  delighted  Neysa  McMein  as  a  model 
for  a  magazine  cover,  and  I  am  sure  still  delights  her 
husband,  Nat  Roth,  the  general  business  manager  in 
New  York  for  the  Shuberts.  Lily  came  to  the  theatre 
in  the  daytime  chaperoning  her  little  sister,  Delia,  then 
about  ten  years  of  age,  and  available  to  the  visiting  or 
local  attractions  as  a  child  actress.  Delia's  first  ap- 
pearance on  the  stage,  I  think,  was  at  Pope's  Theatre 
in  "A  Celebrated  Case,"  with  James  O'Neill.  After 
Charles  Thorne,  James  O'Neill  was  then  perhaps  Amer- 
ica's favorite  romantic  actor,  but  as  modest  and  lovable 
at  the  height  of  his  popularity  as  he  continued  to  the 
day  of  his  recent  death.  His  son,  Eugene,  author  of 
"Emperor  Jones"  and  "Beyond  the  Horizon,"  promises 
to  surpass  his  noble  father  in  enduring  fame. 

John  Raymond  was  a  great  box-office  visitor.  He 
would  patiently  stand  through  five  minutes  of  ticket- 
selling  or  longer  to  get  a  half  minute  in  which  to  match 
silver  dollars  with  the  treasurer.  This  form  of  gambling 
was  a  passion  with  him.  Frederick  Warde  brought  with 
him  as  leading  man  Henry  Aveling,  who  married  our 
amateur  heroine,  Mittens  Willett,  and  brought  also  a 
juvenile  man  calling  himself  Hallet  Murray,  who  turned 
out  to  be  my  old  boy  friend,  Palmoni,  of  Washington 

Palmoni  on  that  visit  told  me  of  the  death  a  year  or 
two  before  of  A.  W.,  our  old  actor  preceptor,  as  grand- 
mother had  intuitively  reported  it.  Palmoni  himself 


was  a  disappointed  man.  He  had  an  ability  that  in  legit- 
imate parts  could  have  overcome  his  lack  of  stature, 
but  he  had  a  tendency  to  be  stout  enough  to  make  him 
undesirable  in  the  roles. 

Two  years  after  the  time  of  which  I  am  writing  he 
died  in  New  York  City.  With  this  confirmation  of  A. 
W.'s  death  and  the  news  of  Palmoni's  end  a  sustaining 
interest  passed  from  grandmother's  horizon,  and  the 
dear  old  lady  began  to  fail  more  perceptibly  than  was 
warranted  by  her  advancing  years  alone. 

In  the  box-office  one  made  a  fairly  extensive  acquain- 
tance with  the  men  employed  in  the  local  departments  of 
the  newspapers,  and  now  and  then  with  some  of  the  edi- 
tors. Most  prominent  among  the  reporters  who  used 
to  visit  the  front  of  the  house,  and  certainly  the  one  best 
known  thereafter  to  the  American  reader,  was  young 
William  Marion  Reedy,  who  later  became  the  editor 
and  owner  of  the  St.  Louis  Mirror,  which  for  so  many 
years  he  conducted  with  such  distinction.  In  the  early 
'8o's  Reedy  was  a  slight  lad  with  a  face  noticeable  for 
its  intelligence.  He  was  interested,  as  most  young  men 
on  newspapers  are,  in  the  playhouse;  and  there  began 
then  a  friendship  which  was  cemented  when  I  went  on 
the  newspapers  myself  a  few  years  later,  and  which  con- 
tinued to  the  time  of  his  death. 

Among  the  men  in  the  editorial  department  with  whom 
I  enjoyed  an  intimate  friendship  was  the  gifted  Colonel 
John  Cockerill,  then  acting  as  managing  editor  of  the 
Post-Dispatch.  Colonel  Cockerill  was  also  president  of 
the  Elks'  Club,  another  member  of  which  was  his  fairly 
intimate  friend,  Alonzo  W.  Slayback.  In  a  political 
campaign  of  that  time  it  became  necessary  for  the  paper 
to  speak  critically  of  Slayback,  and  Slayback,  who  was 


a  Southerner,  served  threatening  notice  upon  Cockerill 
in  the  event  of  any  further  publication.  The  next  after- 
noon the  Post-Dispatch  followed  its  first  article  with  a 
second  reference. 

The  paper  was  hardly  upon  the  street  when  Slayback, 
accompanied  by  a  mutual  friend  by  the  name  of  W.  H. 
Clopton,  passed  through  the  Post-Dispatch's  local  rooms, 
and  entered  CockerilPs  private  office.  As  he  advanced 
he  drew  a  revolver,  but  before  he  had  time  to  use  it 
Cockerill  had  taken  his  own  weapon  from  the  table  in 
front  of  him  and  fired.  Slayback  was  instantly  killed. 
Cockerill  drove  to  the  police  court,  surrendered  himself 
and  was  locked  up. 

The  news  of  the  shooting  was  telephoned  to  the 
theatre.  I  was  on  duty  at  the  time.  Mr.  Pope  consid- 
erately took  my  place  at  the  window  and  I  went  across 
the  town  to  the  jail.  I  was  the  first  man  in  Cockerill's 
cell,  and  remained  with  him  until  Johnny  Norton,  who 
was  his  boon  companion,  came  there.  In  the  few  min- 
utes that  we  were  alone  together  Colonel  Cockerill  was 
self-controlled,  but  plainly  alive  to  the  tragic  character 
of  his  act  and  the  seriousness  of  his  own  situation.  His 
only  reference  to  it  all  was  when  in  commonplace  I  had 
said:  "Sorry,  Colonel/' 

He  nodded  slowly  as  he  answered,  "Too  bad,  but  it 
couldn't  be  helped." 

Colonel  Cockerill  was  released  on  bail  and  the  case 
was  dismissed  without  being  brought  to  trial.  Whether 
the  tragedy  terminated  his  usefulness  in  St.  Louis  or  not, 
it  made  continuation  of  his  work  there  unpleasant  to 
him.  He  removed  to  New  York,  where  he  took  charge 
of  the  editorial  page  of  the  World.  I  saw  him  frequently 
after  1889,  when  I  came  to  make  my  home  in  the  East. 


He  became  the  president  of  the  New  York  Press  Club, 
and  gathered  about  him  a  small  circle  of  agreeable  and 
influential  friends,  but  it  was  my  opinion  that  the  Slay- 
back  killing  clouded  the  rest  of  his  brilliant  life. 

One  outstanding  recollection  of  that  time  at  Pope's  is 
of  William  Gillette's  first  visit  as  a  star.  He  came  in  his 
own  play,  "The  Professor,"  to  my  mind  the  most  charm- 
ing of  the  long  list  from  his  pen.  Gillette  was  then  under 
the  management  of  the  Madison  Square  Theatre,  his  tour 
directed  by  Gustave  and  Charles  Frohman.  An  indica- 
tion of  the  dignity  with  which  affairs  theatrical  were 
treated  is  in  the  advance  illustrations  by  Kelly  printed 
in  the  newspapers  and  the  programmes  of  the  day. 
These  drawings,  designed  for  clearness  on  rapid  printing 
presses,  had  as  much  artistic  merit  as  the  process  per- 
mitted. The  two  facing  p.  138  show  the  character  of  the 
work;  give  an  idea  of  the  costumes  of  1880  and  fairly 
epitomize  the  story  of  "The  Professor,"  an  attractive 
but  mature  person  beleaguered  by  lovelorn  applicants 
and  challenged  by  younger  and  envious  rivals.  The 
garments  of  the  young  men  in  the  picture,  especially 
the  lad  with  the  short  jacket  buttoned  tightly  to  the 
neck,  are  worth  a  glance;  the  entangling  trains  of  the 
women,  the  Watteau  pleats,  their  stays  and  bustles  will 
make  the  modern  girl  thank  heaven  for  her  freedom. 

Another  welcome  visitor  at  the  box-office  was  W.  J. 
Florence,  familiarly  known  as  Billy  Florence,  who  with 
his  wife  was  jointly  starring  in  the  phenomenally  suc- 
cessful comedy,  "The  Mighty  Dollar."  Florence  was  the 
projector  and  organizer  of  the  Mystic  Shriners,  that 
post-graduate  playground  of  the  thirty-second-degree 
Masons.  He  and  the  elder  Sothern,  Lord  Dundreary, 
were  boon  companions. 


One  week  when  Sothern  was  playing  at  the  Olympic 
Theatre  and  Florence  was  at  Pope's,  Florence  took  a 
carriage  at  the  first  intermission  in  his  play,  drove  rapidly 
to  the  stage  door  of  the  Olympic,  which  was  half  a  mile 
away,  passed  the  doorkeeper  and  went  onto  the  stage, 
where  Lord  Dundreary  was  in  the  midst  of  a  scene. 
Waddling  down  from  the  centre  door  with  his  unctuous 
laugh  he  grasped  the  hand  of  the  astonished  Dundreary, 
and  wished  him  health  "by  a  large  majority."  The 
crowded  house,  watching  "Our  American  Cousin,"  im- 
mediately recognized  the  star  from  the  other  theatre. 
This  prank  occasioned  a  good  deal  of  merriment  at  Pope's 
when  Florence  got  back  and  reported  it.  Its  perpetration 
had  extended  the  intermission  but  slightly. 

Florence  and  his  wife  were  in  the  middle  of  their  big 
scene  in  the  succeeding  act  when,  to  their  great  astonish- 
ment, but  to  the  equal  delight  of  this  second  audience, 
the  lisping  Dundreary  minced  in  through  the  centre  to 
announce  that  he  "had  just  had  a  letter  from  Sam." 
He  greeted  both  Florences  effusively  and  departed.  This 
good-natured  interchange  has  had  many  imitations  since 
that  day,  but  I  believe  it  was  original  with  Florence. 

One  story  of  Florence  concerned  his  first  endeavor  on 
any  stage.  When  as  a  lad  engaged  to  keep  out  of  sight 
behind  the  scenes  and  on  a  given  cue  to  bark  like  a  dog, 
which  he  could  do,  an  actor  asked:  "What  will  you  do, 
Billy,  if  you  get  stage  fright  and  can't  bark?" 

The  boy  answered,  "I'll  wag  my  tail,"  which  showed 
a  ready  sense  of  character. 

Perhaps  more  than  any  other  man  in  the  theatre,  with 
maybe  the  exception  of  Joseph  Jefferson,  Florence  num- 
bered among  his  friends  the  important  politicians  of  the 
country.  This  may  have  been  the  consequence  of  his 


APPEARED.     1882. 


admirable  burlesque  of  a  congressman  as  the  Honorable 
Bardwell  Slote — and  he  had  political  ambitions  himself. 
After  Cleveland's  first  election  the  belief  was  general 
that  Mr.  Florence  would  be  appointed  ambassador  to 
France.  Colonel  Henry  Watterson  was  the  man  who 
brought  the  question  to  the  attention  of  Cleveland.  Al- 
though Cleveland  was  numbered  among  the  personal 
friends  of  the  actor,  he  was  obliged  to  explain  to  Watter- 
son that  the  church  members  of  the  country  would  not 
forgive  him  if  he  appointed  to  an  office  of  such  promi- 
nence a  member  of  the  theatrical  profession. 

James  H.  Hackett,  the  father  of  our  present  James  K. 
Hackett,  lately  made  chevalier  of  the  Legion  of  Honor 
for  his  performance  of  "Macbeth"  in  Paris,  was  consid- 
ered by  playgoers  the  greatest  American  Falstaff.  But 
I  have  heard  men  who  saw  both  claim  the  supremacy  for 
Ben  De  Bar.  This  old  actor  required  very  little  padding 
to  realize  the  rotund  knight,  a  favorite  character  with 
him.  De  Bar  also  excelled  in  most  of  the  low-comedy 
parts  of  that  repertoire.  He  was  unsurpassed  as  Toodles, 
and  was  the  best  Dogberry  I  ever  knew.  I  saw  him  walk 
away  with  the  honors  in  an  all-star  performance  of  "Lon- 
don Assurance"  that  was  given  for  some  charity  in  which 
the  brilliant  Edwin  Adams  played  Charles  Courtly.  A 
good  leading  man  of  that  time,  one  Metcalf,  played  Sir 
Harcourt;  Charles  R.  Pope  was  the  Dazzle,  and  Ben  De 
Bar  the  Mark  Meddle.  I  doubt  if  the  play  had  had  an 
equal  presentation  in  its  first  production  in  England 
when  the  then  young  Dion  Boucicault,  its  author, 
wrote  to  his  mother  in  Ireland,  "  I  have  London  by  the 

Adams  was  then  starring  in  "Enoch  Arden"  and  some 
Shakespearian  parts.  I  saw  his  "Hamlet"  that  week. 


Many  men  of  judgment  ;n  the  theatre  preferred  it  to  all 

I  have  seen  some  thirty  Hamlets,  including  Booth  and 
Barry  Sullivan,  but  I  think  Adams  the  most  thrilling  of 
them  all  in  the  scenes  with  the  ghost,  probably  because 
of  his  more  melodramatic  methods. 

The  boys  in  the  box-office  were  always  happy  to  have 
C.  W.  Couldock  come  along,  as  he  did  in  "Hazel  Kirke" 
and  "The  Willow  Copse."  We  went  with  the  old  gentle- 
man one  night  after  the  play  to  the  Elks'  rooms  for  sup- 
per. The  order  had  been  given  when  the  uneasy  veteran 
asked  if  there  was  not  some  place  to  which  we  could  take 
him  where  there  would  be  sawdust  on  the  floor,  and  he 
could  get  an  order  of  finnan  haddie.  There  were  just  such 
conditions  in  a  room  at  Tony  Faust's,  two  blocks  away, 
where  we  spent  the  rest  of  the  evening  with  the  coveted 
smoked  fish  and  some  bumpers  of  beer. 

Couldock  at  that  time  divided  popular  support  as  the 
first  old  man  of  the  country  with  James  H.  Stoddart. 
He  had  spent  his  life  in  the  theatre,  been  one  of  the  most 
prominent  exponents  of  Louis  XI  and  similar  legitimate 
parts,  and  could  fill  all  the  evenings  of  a  week  with  stories 
of  the  old  days  before  we  had  fallen  upon  the  degenerate 
times,  as  he  then  measured  the  one  in  which  we  were. 

Another  very  agreeable  acquisition  that  came  to  one 
in  a  box-office  was  the  fraternity  which  it  established 
with  the  men  in  the  other  box-offices,  and  the  informa- 
tion that  came  through  them  concerning  all  current 
theatrical  happenings.  At  the  Olympic  Theatre  the 
treasurer  was  Mr.  Dunn,  who  is  still  called  Eddie,  though 
he  must  be  within  a  few  years  of  my  own  age,  and  has 
had  now  the  responsible  position  of  general-manager  for 
Mr.  George  M.  Cohan.  I  don't  think  I  ever  saw  a  more 


uniformly  courteous  and  even-tempered  person  than 
Mr.  Dunn  has  been  in  a  number  of  trying  occupations. 
In  the  old  days  the  only  railroad  in  the  country  that 
advertised  a  four-track  roadbed  was  the  New  York  Cen- 
tral. Eddie,  who  has  always  been  a  careful  dresser,  was 
then  the  leader  if  not  the  misleader  of  fashion.  He  used 
to  wear  in  the  box-office  what  he  called  his  New  York 
Central  shirt,  which  had  four  very  decided  stripes  down 
the  bosom. 

I  think  that  both  Mr.  Dunn  and  I,  as  well  as  all  others 
that  were  ever  in  the  theatre  offices  of  St.  Louis,  will 
accord  to  old  George  McManus  credit  of  greatest  pop- 
ularity. There  is  scarcely  any  man  who  came  into  the 
profession  as  early  as  twenty-five  years  ago  who  will  not 
remember  him  as  a  pleasant  acquaintance  and  delightful 
friend.  After  saying  that  he  was  the  father  of  the  pres- 
ent George  McManus,  the  talented  artist  who  runs  the 
comic  stories  of  "Bringing  Up  Father"  and  similar  hu- 
morous drawings  in  certain  syndicate  papers,  it  will  be 
interesting  to  the  members  of  the  Eugenics  Congress  to 
note  that  this  humor  that  has  blossomed  out  in  young 
George  through  his  illustrations  found  expression  in  the 
father  in  an  unbroken  series  of  harmless  practical  jokes 
of  legitimate  kinship  to  the  absurdities  depicted  by  young 
George.  A  few  of  these  are  worth  telling,  because  of 
their  character  and  the  light  they  throw  upon  the  mind 
that  got  entertainment  out  of  the  disproportion  between 
common  expectation  and  events. 

On  the  wall  of  George  McManus'  box-office  at  the 
Grand  Opera  House  there  was  a  strip  of  wood  equipped 
with  what  appeared  to  be  four  tenpenny  nails  on  which 
some  coats  and  hats  might  be  hung.  Two  of  these  nails 
were  usually  occupied  by  garments.  One  of  the  remain- 


ing  two,  although  a  tenpenny  nail  in  appearance,  was 
a  very  artful  imitation  made  of  black  car-spring  rubber. 
A  regular  nail  had  first  been  driven  into  the  wood,  then 
withdrawn,  and  this  rubber  counterfeit  substituted.  Mc- 
Manus  got  an  average  of  one  laugh  a  week  out  of  this 
by  hanging  his  own  coat  on  the  good  nail  when  it  came 
time  to  count  up,  and  then  watching  the  business  man- 
ager of  the  visiting  company  try  to  make  his  coat  stay 
in  midair  by  passing  the  collar  over  this  rubber  nail. 
It  seemed  to  be  a  law  of  the  human  mind  to  assume  that 
the  overcoat's  fall  to  the  floor  was  the  result  of  a  failure 
to  encompass  the  nail,  and  it  sometimes  took  two  or 
three  repeated  attempts  for  the  victim  to  discover  the 

Just  over  the  office  table,  and  affixed  to  the  wall,  was 
an  ordinary  electric  push  button  in  its  hard  wooden  plate. 
When  the  laugh  was  over  about  the  overcoat  and  the 
two  men  were  going  to  count  up  George  would  say, 
"We'll  have  a  drink  on  that,"  or  a  cigar,  and  osten- 
tatiously push  this  electric  button.  A  moment  or  two 
after  an  aproned  waiter  from  the  adjoining  barroom 
would  enter  and  inquire  the  pleasure  of  the  gentlemen 
who  had  summoned  him.  He  really  came  because  Mc- 
Manus  had  arranged  with  an  usher  to  go  after  him.  The 
button  on  the  wall  had  no  connection  with  anything  ex- 
cept the  plaster. 

Twenty-four  hours  would  go  by  before  McManus 
could  realize  anything  on  this  investment,  and  then  upon 
the  second  night  the  visiting  agent  would  in  his  turn 
say,  "Shall  we  have  a  drink  now?" 

George  would  assent,  and  the  next  half-hour  would 
witness  the  mounting  irritation  of  the  visitor  as  he  inter- 
mittently punched  this  dummy  call-bell.  There  were 


many  of  these  devices,  and  some  were  being  constantly 
replaced.  Just  inside  the  box-office  window  was  a  gi- 
gantic thermometer  of  the  kind  sometimes  displayed 
for  advertising  purposes  outside  the  corner  drug-store. 
It  was  about  three  feet  in  length.  When  an  agent  of  a 
coming  attraction  arrived  and  began  his  preliminary 
talk  through  the  box-office  window  with  McManus  he 
would  be  puzzled  by  George's  turning  to  his  assistant 
and  saying  "Forty,"  or  "Sixty,"  or  some  other  number; 
the  explanation  for  which  the  agent  would  find  a  few 
days  later  when  he  got  the  run  of  the  office  and  saw  the 
decimal  degrees  on  the  thermometer  variously  marked 
with  the  customary  phrases  of  boastful  advance  men, 
such  as  "Capacity  in  Cincinnati";  and  "When  I  was 
with  Booth";  and  so  on.  It  was  a  salutary  shock  for 
a  pompous  individual  to  find  that  he  had  fallen  into  a 
tiresome  category. 

In  the  early  '8o's  there  was  an  impression  still  current 
in  our  sober  city  that  economy  is  wealth.  McManus 
used  to  be  annoyed  by  that  section  of  the  opera-house 
patrons  who,  moved  by  this  precept,  lighted  cigars  dur- 
ing the  first  intermission  and  then  carefully  left  their 
half-smoked  butts  resting  on  the  wainscoting  of  the  lobby 
when  the  curtain  went  up  and  they  were  called  inside. 
McManus  would  then  come  from  the  box-office  with  a 
squirt  bottle  of  tabasco  sauce,  from  which  he  carefully 
shot  two  or  three  charges  upon  the  chewed  end  of  each 
cigar.  In  the  second  intermission  the  man  first  to  re- 
cover his  cigar  was  generally  sport  enough  to  try  to  con- 
trol his  sensation.  But  a  dozen  frugal  patrons  looking 
their  mutual  confessions  to  each  other  made  an  amusing 

In  the  contraband  literature  of  our  kid  days  Ned  Bunt- 


line  or  some  equal  author  used  to  write  of  Buffalo  Bill. 
One  day  an  advance  agent  arrived  at  Pope's  and  the 
paper  went  up  for  this  hero  in  his  romantic  play  "The 
Prairie  Waif/'  The  next  Sunday  night  I  had  the  great 
happiness  of  meeting  the  Honorable  William  F.  Cody. 
I  found  that  my  admiration  was  shared  by  the  preceding 
generation.  He  and  Pope  were  already  great  pals.  Dur- 
ing that  engagement,  in  a  buckskin  suit  which  Buffalo 
Bill  lent  him,  Pope  and  the  famous  scout — boys  grown 
tall — were  photographed  together  seated  over  a  stuffed 
deer  which  the  property  man  carried  over  his  shoulder 
to  the  gallery  across  the  street. 

This  hero-worship  is  a  great  tendency.  One  of  Cody's 
engagements  overlapped  that  of  Nate  Salisbury,  who 
had  his  little  company  of  five  sprightly  people — John 
Webster,  Nellie  McHenry,  John  Gourlay,  Rae  Samuels, 
and  Salisbury  himself — known  as  Salisbury's  Troubadours. 
Nate  Salisbury  came  to  be  a  figure  of  international  repu- 
tation. At  that  time  he  was  fixed  in  my  mind  principally 
by  a  story  that  John  Norton  used  to  tell  of  one  Charles 
Salisbury,  with  whom  I  had  confused  him. 

This  Charles  Salisbury  as  a  young  man  had  written 
from  Chicago  to  Cincinnati  asking  an  engagement  for 
utility  business  in  the  stock  company  of  Bob  Miles,  who 
ran  a  theatre  in  that  city.  Miles  had  sent  a  negative 
answer.  Salisbury  replied  with  an  offer  to  go  for  forty 
dollars  a  week.  Miles  refused  this.  Salisbury  then  tele- 
graphed him,  the  situation  being  urgent,  that  he  would 
accept  the  place  at  thirty  dollars  a  week. 

Miles,  thoroughly  annoyed,  wired  back:  "Mr.  Salis- 
bury, I  don't  want  you  at  any  price." 

Salisbury  answered:  "Terms  accepted.  Will  be  on  in 
the  morning."  And  he  came. 


An  equal  push  and  energy,  which  manifested  itself  in 
everything  that  Nate  Salisbury  did,  was  in  harmony 
with  much  that  Cody  had.  Shortly  after  the  two  men 
got  together  their  great  enterprise  of  the  "Wild  West," 
which  ran  for  many  years,  was  organized  and  launched. 
Salisbury,  knowing  my  railroad  experiences,  wished  me 
to  take  charge  of  its  transportation  department,  moving 
its  large  collection  of  animals  and  men.  At  that  time, 
however,  I  was  filled  with  the  project  of  a  theatrical  com- 
pany of  my  own,  and,  wisely  or  unwisely,  declined. 

Toward  the  end  of  our  second  season  in  Pope's  Barney 
Macauley  came  to  play  a  week  in  "The  Messenger  From 
Jarvis  Section."  He  had  with  him  a  little  girl  named 
Lizzie  Evans  playing  the  part  of  Chip,  of  which  I  believe 
the  child,  Minnie  Maddern,  had  been  the  original.  His 
leading  man,  Mr.  Charles  Mason,  a  very  sterling  actor, 
still  in  the  profession,  was  leaving  him,  and  at  Mr.  Pope's 
suggestion  I  went  in  on  short  notice  to  play  the  part  of 
Sandy  Mitchell.  The  character  of  Keppler,  a  German 
barkeeper  in  the  play,  was  being  played  by  the  stage 
manager,  a  young  fellow  about  twenty  years  of  age,  with 
remarkable  eyes.  They  had  most  soulful  and  pathetic 
appeal.  This  actor  was  a  good  comedian  and  a  most 
excellent  stage  manager.  His  name  was  Charles  Klein. 
He  was  even  then  interested  in  the  subject  of  writing 
plays,  and  was  acting  to  get  the  experience  so  helpful 
to  a  playwright.  Before  he  went  down  on  the  ill-fated 
Lusitania,  Charles  Klein  had  won  his  way  to  the  fore- 
most rank  in  his  profession.  Readers  will  remember  his 
"Music  Master,"  "The  Lion  and  the  Mouse,"  "The 
Third  Degree,"  and  other  plays. 

In  an  earlier  chapter  of  this  record  I  referred  to  the 
discreet  treatment  of  living  persons  by  one  writing  that 


is  advised  by  men  of  experience.  A  decent  respect  for 
this  advice  and  such  conferences  as  it  has  made  desirable 
have  invited  a  few  time-to-time  advisers.  One  of  these 
is  an  attorney,  old  enough  to  serve  upon  any  pardon 
board,  experienced,  grave,  dignified,  and  scholarly,  and 
not  so  much  my  senior  in  years  as  to  be  out  of  touch  with 
all  my  impulses.  He  frowns  discouragingly  at  such 
glimpses  as  he  has  had  of  my  doings  thus  far.  He  wishes 
that  I  would  write  with  the  restraint  and  gravity  of  John 
Morley  or  Sir  George  Trevelyan,  though  of  course  not 
curbing  my  genius  to  the  mediocrity  of  either;  that  there 
should  be  no  audible  laugh  in  the  sessions,  and  that  the 
greatest  relaxation  should  be  only  a  genial  glow  indica- 
tive of  good-nature.  He  tells  me  that  I  am  not  on  a  wit- 
ness stand;  not  under  any  compulsion  to  make  a  reve- 
lation that  will  not  read  always  to  my  advantage;  and 
moves  further,  upon  my  silent  reception  of  this,  by  an 
alarm  for  the  interest  of  the  helpless  sensitive  persons 
whom  I  may  involve. 

That  my  father,  who  at  the  age  of  fifty,  having  met 
with  an  accident  that  for  a  time  prevented  further  pur- 
suit of  business,  resumed  the  study  of  medicine  inter- 
rupted in  his  youth,  and  won  his  degree  in  an  established 
medical  college,  my  counsellor  submits  is  an  unnecessary 
statement,  even  though  father's  course  in  the  college 
required  my  co-operation  at  home,  and  to  that  extent 
attached  itself  to  my  activities.  Well,  my  adviser  is 
right;  that  is  an  unnecessary  statement;  but  so  is  any 
other  statement  in  this  whole  performance.  My  own 
present  needs  are  not  such  nor  is  the  financial  return  for 
the  promised  output  large  enough  to  furnish  me  with 
even  the  sordid  excuse  of  Romeo's  apothecary  when  part- 
ing with  the  poison  that  "my  poverty  but  not  my  will 


consents."  It  is  only  fair  to  the  publishers,  however, 
in  this  connection  to  say  that  a  middleman,  previously 
indicated,  has  assured  me  that  "they  will  come  across 
stronger  next  time." 

But  I  think  I  could  resist  that  inducement,  too,  if  it 
were  not  my  belief  that  my  father  if  living  would  himself 
take  pleasure  in  the  recital.  He  lived  to  practise  his 
profession  thirty  years;  to  know  his  colleagues  and  his 
clientele  in  that  helpful,  expanding,  increasingly  interest- 
ing way  that  a  physician's  calling  opens  and  the  agree- 
able atmosphere  that  it  provides.  He  radiated  what  he 
so  acquired,  and  the  studio  in  which  I  write  and  the  sum- 
mer places  of  which  our  domestics  so  fully  approve  would 
lose  much  that  makes  them  magnetized  and  restful  if 
the  repeated  visits  of  the  sweetly  aging  doctor  were  un- 

When  father  was  compelled  to  quit  his  work  we  had 
as  neighbor  a  Doctor  Kent,  member  of  the  faculty  of 
the  Homeopathic  College,  who  approved  of  the  sugges- 
tion for  father  to  resume  the  study  of  medicine.  There 
were  some  serious  family  discussions  which  narrowed 
down  to  a  talk  between  father  and  me.  I  found  an  in- 
crease of  income  by  undertaking  to  do  more  drawings 
on  boxwood  for  the  engravers,  and  with  this  in  sight 
father  consented  to  start  in  on  his  four-year  course. 
Looking  back  at  that  time  over  an  interval  of  more  than 
forty  years,  I  don't  believe  that  I  am  exaggerating  the 
human  interest  of  it.  The  positions  of  father  and  son 
were  in  one  respect  completely  reversed.  He  started  off 
to  school  with  his  books  in  the  morning  and  came  home 
after  his  day's  session  and  devoted  his  nights  to  study. 
About  him  were  the  domestic  problems.  The  important 
thing  was  to  meet  these  with  the  least  call  upon  him,  and 


at  the  same  time  to  keep  up  his  spirits  to  the  heroic  thing 
he  had  undertaken.  I  won't  attempt  the  proper  tribute 
that  belongs  to  the  women  of  the  family  for  their  part 
of  this;  they  were  unwavering  in  the  brave  front  they 
presented  to  father  and  the  atmosphere  of  content  that 
they  created. 

My  job  in  addition  to  that  already  indicated  was  to 
establish  a  comedy  view  of  the  thing;  to  call  the  medical 
student  to  account  for  implied  truancy  and  theatrically 
to  assume  the  role  of  a  grouchy  stage  father  bringing  up 
an  incorrigible  son.  About  once  a  week  I  pretended  to 
get  favorable  reports  from  the  teachers,  and  would  re- 
ward their  pupil  with  a  visit  to  the  theatre,  on  which  I 
accompanied  him  during  the  time  I  was  in  the  law-office 
and  in  which  I  joined  him  when  we  had  counted  up  at 
Pope's  after  I  had  gone  there.  As  a  matter  of  both  eco- 
nomy and  companionship  he  and  I  used  to  walk  home — 
two  miles.  My  interests  were  theatrical;  father's  ex- 
periences were  largely  so;  and  the  talks  that  started  as 
far  as  I  was  concerned  in  a  deliberate  intent  to  divert 
his  thoughts  always  finished  in  a  real  abandonment  to 
the  subject,  with  both  of  us  in  the  happiest  earnestness. 

The  last  attraction  at  Pope's  Theatre  during  my  em- 
ployment there  was  the  celebrated  Vokes  family.  At 
the  end  of  their  week  they  separated;  the  girls,  Victoria, 
Rosina,  and  Jessie,  and  the  brother,  Fawdon,  going  back 
to  England.  Fred  Vokes,  however,  the  principal  mem- 
ber and  manager  of  the  enterprise,  had  a  play  in  mind 
which  he  wished  to  try  in  America  during  the  summer; 
a  farcical  contrivance  which  he  called  "In  Camp."  He 
engaged  me  to  undertake  the  part  that  had  been  origi- 
nally intended  for  Fawdon  Vokes.  When  the  new  com- 
pany, which  immediately  assembled,  found  itself  together 


in  Buffalo,  all  rooming  at  the  old  Mansion  House,  the 
principal  members  were  Pauline  Hall,  later  the  comic- 
opera  star;  Minnie  Schultz,  a  soprano,  at  that  time  the 
wife  of  the  talented  Louis  Harrison;  and  Miss  Helen 
Dingeon,  a  soprano  of  power  and  reputation.  The  prin- 
cipal men  were  Owen  Westford,  a  very  excellent  come- 
dian, and  a  young  man  named  Byron  Douglas,  who  later 
became  an  established  leading  man. 

When  rehearsals  should  have  begun  we  discovered  that 
Yokes  had  no  script  whatever,  but  only  an  idea  for  a 
play.  All  of  us  boys  thereupon  sat  down  with  pen,  ink, 
and  paper  to  help  him.  Together  we  finally  ground  out 
a  hodgepodge  not  unlike  a  modern  musical  play.  All 
that  is  important  to  note  of  that  engagement  is  that  in 
one  of  the  off  hours,  in  a  wrestling  bout,  Westford  had 
the  misfortune  to  break  an  ankle,  so  that  his  Buffalo 
engagement  was  played  on  crutches. 

Our  next  important  stand  after  Buffalo  was  Chicago, 
where  we  arrived  on  a  rainy  Sunday,  none  of  us  with 
any  money.  Westford,  Pauline  Hall,  and  I,  forming  one 
little  coterie,  went  on  foot  in  the  rain  in  search  of  a  hotel. 
The  old  Matteson  House,  later  the  Wellington  Hotel,  was 
situated  on  Wabash  Avenue.  The  desk  was  approached 
by  a  corridor  some  sixty  feet  in  length  and  twenty  wide. 
A  pompous  clerk  glared  at  our  party  as  we  came  in  from 
the  drizzle  and  stood  at  the  front  door.  Westford  being 
on  crutches,  I  went  up  to  the  desk  to  negotiate  for  quar- 
ters. The  hotel  was  on  the  American  plan. 

I  said,    "What  is  the  rate  for  board  and  room?" 
The  clerk  answered,  "Three  dollars." 
"What  is  your  professional  rate  for  actors?" 
Looking  over  my  head  into  vacancy,  the  clerk  an- 
swered, "Three-fifty." 


We  went  a  few  blocks  farther  on  to  a  little  rooming- 
house  called  the  Windsor,  with  a  second-floor  office, 
where  one  could  get  a  comfortable  room  at  a  dollar  a 
day.  When  the  Chicago  engagement  was  fairly  launched 
my  colleagues  in  St.  Louis  were  far  enough  advanced 
with  their  plans  for  a  company  of  our  own  for  me  to  quit 
the  Yokes  enterprise  and  go  home. 

In  the  early  days  of  his  popularity  as  a  singing  tramp, 
Walter  Jones,  our  prominent  farceur  of  to-day,  used  to 
recite  some  verses  written  by  Ben  King  of  the  old  W7hite- 
chapel  Club  of  Chicago,  expressing  the  tyranny  of  the 
preposition.  As  I  remember,  the  first  lines  ran: 

"Nowhere  to  go  but  out, 
Nowhere  to  come  but  back, 
No  place  to  stand  but  on, 
Nowhere  to  fall  but  off." 

In  my  few  essays  at  a  career  up  to  the  time  of  which 
I  am  telling  there  had  uniformly  been  no  place  to  come 
but  back.  I  never  came  back,  however,  with  more  eager- 
ness than  from  my  experience  in  that  summer  season 
with  Fred  Vokes;  or  with  more  welcome  or  greater  hap- 
piness upon  my  arrival.  My  father,  who  had  got  his 
diploma  from  the  college,  was  now  set  up  as  doctor  and 
building  a  little  practice  that  made  it  possible  for  me 
without  excessive  selfishness  to  try  somewhat  for  myself. 
In  our  leisurely  review  and  stock  taking  as  I  sat  with 
him  that  midsummer,  he  now  the  breadwinner  and  I 
the  adventurer,  we  talked  over  the  period  covering 
slightly  more  than  a  decade  since  I  had  come  back  from 
Washington.  How  full  the  time  had  been !  What  pros- 
perity the  country  had  had  !  What  a  growth  in  its  activ- 
ities !  What  a  reaching  out  of  its  markets !  What  a 
turmoil  in  its  political  agitations ! 


A  syndicate  of  newspapers,  the  Scripps-McRae  League, 
had  established  a  penny  paper  in  our  city,  among  others; 
copper  coins  were  really  beginning  to  circulate  west  of 
the  Mississippi  and  south  of  the  Ohio;  merchants  were 
marking  down  goods  from  five  dollars  to  four-ninety- 
eight;  newsboys  were  making  change  for  less  than  a 
nickel;  my  old  friend,  General  Benjamin  Butler,  by 
some  turn  of  the  whirligig  found  himself  politically  asso- 
ciated with  the  sand-lot  agitator,  Dennis  Kearney,  of 
California,  who  originated  the  slogan,  "The  Chinese 
Must  Go!"  with  whose  blatherskite  ambitions  I  felt  a 
perhaps  reprehensible  but  not  inexplicable  sympathy; 
what  was  called  the  National  Party  had  been  organized 
with  strength  enough  to  pass  the  Greenback  Bill  for  fiat 
money;  the  bill  had  gone  through  both  Houses  of  Con- 
gress and  been  stopped  only  by  the  stubbornness  of 
Grant,  who  vetoed  it;  our  own  corn-tassel  statesman  of 
Missouri,  Richard  Bland,  far  outrunning  the  subsequent 
vision  of  the  peerless  leader  of  Nebraska,  had  put  through 
a  bill  making  silver  the  sole  basis  of  our  national  cur- 
rency; Grant  had  vetoed  this  also;  and  then  for  the 
first  time  since  1862  gold,  gradually  dropping,  had 
reached  par  and  the  country  was  again  on  a  bi-metallic 
basis  with  specie  payment  resumed.  The  negroes  had 
achieved  civil  rights;  probable  war  had  been  averted  by 
the  patriotism  of  Tilden,  who  counselled  patience  and 
the  submission  to  arbitration  of  the  contested  election 
between  himself  and  Hayes,  which  put  the  latter  in  the 
presidential  chair  by  a  vote  of  eight  to  seven  in  the  com- 
mission organized  for  that  hearing;  Garfield  had  come 
into  the  presidency  and  been  assassinated  by  a  madman, 
Charles  Jules  Guiteau,  of  Chicago;  Guiteau  had  been 
tried,  convicted,  executed;  the  great  Eads  Bridge  had 


been  opened;  the  Father  of  Waters  was  no  longer  the 
barrier  to  the  railroad  communication  of  the  two  great 
longitudinal  sections  of  the  country. 

In  my  own  little  personal  world  there  had  been  an 
almost  commensurate  exfoliation  of  events  and  hopes; 
far  beyond  my  most  vivid  expectations  I  had  been  given 
an  inside  knowledge  of  the  theatre  in  all  its  departments 
as  much  as  any  city  in  the  Union  other  than  New  York 
could  provide  such  initiation.  Besides  the  actors  I  have 
mentioned,  I  had  been  permitted  to  witness  repeated 
performances  by  the  beautiful  Mrs.  Scott  Siddons;  I 
had  seen  the  incomparable  Marie  Geistinger,  equally  ex- 
cellent in  opera,  drama,  and  comedy;  had  seen  and  be- 
come acquainted  with  the  famous  Bostonians,  with  Tom 
Karl,  Henry  Barnabee,  Will  McDonald;  had  seen  Salvini 
in  his  heroic  work  with  such  splendid  support  as  Lewis 
Morrison  and  Marie  Prescott  gave.  I  had  studied  the 
perfect  work  of  the  well-balanced  New  York  companies, 
from  the  Union  Square,  Palmer's,  and  the  Madison  Square 
theatres;  had  become  personally  acquainted  with  Steele 
Mackaye,  with  whom  I  was  to  have  a  profitable  friend- 
ship until  his  death,  when  the  acquaintance  would  be 
carried  on  with  his  gifted  and  poetic  son,  Percy  Mackaye, 
also  a  playwright;  had  made  and  begun  a  lifelong  friend- 
ship with  the  matchless  Robert  G.  IngersoII;  had  made 
friendships  that  lasted  till  their  death  with  many  others 
that  have  gone,  and  friendships  that  still  continue  with 
many  who  remain.  Among  the  departed  are  Digby  Bell, 
Joseph  Arthur,  George  R.  Edeson,  father  of  our  present 
Robert  Edeson;  Stuart  Robson,  McKee  Rankin,  Frank 
Mayo,  Charles  Wyndham,  Harry  Pitt,  Dan  McGinnis, 
and  a  host  of  others.  Of  those  still  playing  I  had  come 
to  know  William  Gillette,  Francis  Wilson,  the  sturdy 


William  Muldoon,  De  Wolf  Hopper,  William  Crane, 
Forrest  Robinson,  Henry  Miller,  the  veteran  Charles 
Stevenson,  who  along  with  John  Drew  is  one  of  the  few 
survivors  of  the  older  and  classic  school,  now  flexibly 
adapting  himself  to  the  later  methods.  I  had  met  nearly 
all  the  responsible  and  irresponsible  players  who  still 
play  and  were  then  travelling.  I  had  come  to  know  the 
ablest  managers  of  the  time,  and  the  younger  men  that 
were  to  succeed  them.  One  particular  friendship  to 
which  I  owe  so  much  was  with  the  late  Charles  Frohman, 
who  dominated  the  American  theatre  until  he  was  lost 
on  the  torpedoed  Lusitania. 



In  the  summer  of  1883,  when  I  had  come  back  from 
the  Yokes  Company  hoping  to  start  organizing  what 
ultimately  proved  to  be  the  little  theatrical  company 
called  the  Dickson  Sketch  Club,  I  had  a  fair  knowledge 
of  the  kind  of  material  of  which  actors  were  made,  and 
some  measure  of  audiences  too;  but  I  felt  that  the  ex- 
perience to  be  had  in  a  tour  would  give  a  knowledge  of 
audiences  in  general  most  desirable  to  a  playwriter.  He 
would  learn  the  kind  of  line  and  business  that  would 
please  not  only  the  people  with  whom  he  had  been 
brought  up  but  all  kinds  to  whom  he  would  be  fortunate 
enough  to  play  and  ultimately  to  write  for — the  alto- 
gether American  audience  and  the  one  that  would  be  a 
mixture  of  many  nationalities. 

With  this  in  mind  I  began  my  last  season  in  Pope's 
box-office,  having  several  months  ahead  for  preparation 
of  material  and  enlistment  of  help.  The  task  in  detail 
of  getting  material,  organizing  a  company,  playing  in  it 
and  going  with  it  in  a  trial  through  small  towns  was  a 
varied  experience,  of  which  an  intimate  telling  will  prob- 
ably interest  others  besides  equally  ambitious  amateurs. 

Looking  for  some  one  who  could  play  the  child  in 
"Editha's  Burglar,"  our  attention  naturally  went  to 
Delia  Fox,  who  was  the  professional  infant  around  the 
theatre,  and  who  a  few  years  later  became  the  light- 
opera  prima  donna  with  the  Comley  Barton  Opera  Com- 



pany,  and  still  later  the  featured  lead  with  De  Wolf  Hop- 
per in  "Wang"  and  other  Broadway  successes.  She  also 
introduced  the  Delia  Fox  curl  in  the  middle  of  the  fore- 
head, which  became  the  fashion  from  Maine  to  the  Pa- 

Edgar  Smith,  now  the  prominent  playwright,  was  at 
that  time  working  very  rebelliously  in  a  gas-fixture  es- 
tablishment in  St.  Louis,  a  branch  of  a  New  York  house 
in  which  his  father  was  a  partner.  Edgar  had  been 
launched  upon  this  attempt  at  a  commercial  career  by 
his  father  in  order  to  get  him  away  from  Daly's  Theatre, 
where  he  had  been  a  minor  member  of  the  resident  com- 
pany and  a  fairly  important  one  of  a  company  that  went 
on  the  road.  With  us  amateurs  of  his  own  age  this  gave 
him  authority.  At  that  time  he  was  a  slight  and  dis- 
tinguished-looking person  about  five  feet  eleven  inches 
tall,  and  as  fine  a  young  man  physically  and  facially  and 
in  deportment  as  one  would  wish  to  see.  His  profile  was 
regular,  and  his  expression  had  the  high,  open-eyed,  self- 
confident  quality  of  a  French  marquis.  He  sang  ac- 
ceptably; he  spoke  with  well-bred  pronunciation  and 
tone.  The  idea  of  a  little  company  that  we  could  call  our 
own  appealed  to  him  thoroughly.  He  became  a  third 
owner  in  the  enterprise.  His  choice  as  the  exponent  of 
anything  romantic  that  we  might  play  was  conceded 
and  fixed. 

Frank  David,  the  drummer  I  have  referred  to  as  often 
dancing  in  the  lobby  of  the  theatre  during  the  hours  he 
was  off  duty,  was  naturally  mimetic.  His  work  in  the 
orchestra  had  required  that  his  attention  should  at  least 
be  synchronized  with  the  slap-stick  and  knockabout  ele- 
ment of  the  performance  in  which  his  drum  and  cymbals 
assisted.  Mr.  Wilton  Lackaye  once  remarked  that  rep- 


artee  was  largely  a  matter  of  repertoire.  It  may  be  that 
many  entertaining  personal  properties  have  the  same 
origin.  David,  as  drummer  student,  had  a  repertoire; 
he  was  our  principal  comic. 

Another  possible  member  of  our  company,  a  product 
of  the  business,  was  William  Sullivan,  whom  we  dis- 
cussed as  a  second  comedian.  He  had  been  brought  up 
around  the  theatre,  being  successively  errand  boy,  usher, 
and  bill-poster.  Memory,  when  at  all  associated  with 
genius,  is  selective.  Sullivan's  memory  had  fixed  for 
him  every  trick  of  every  Irish  player  that  had  made  a 
week's  stand  in  the  city  of  St.  Louis  during  his  time. 
His  particular  model  had  been  that  fine  Irish  actor,  Hugh 
Fay.  Sullivan  could  give  an  imitation  of  Fay,  not  only 
in  the  things  he  had  seen  Fay  do,  but  in  any  new  ma- 
terial that  he  imagined  Fay  undertaking.  These  men — 
Smith,  Dickson,  David,  Sullivan,  and  myself — had  many 
conferences  over  our  plans.  We  felt  that  "Editha's 
Burglar"  was  a  sufficient  pidce  de  resistance.  But  this 
playlet  represented  only  twenty-five  minutes.  With  a 
ten-minute  intermission  added,  it  still  left  two  hours  of 
entertainment  to  be  devised. 

Smith  and  I  set  about  together  to  devise  a  comedy 
that  would  contain  songs  and  dances  and  an  equal  op- 
portunity to  put  into  the  show-window  what  we  thought 
we  and  our  associates  individually  and  collectively  pos- 
sessed or  could  develop.  We  turned  out  a  two-act  con- 
coction which  we  called  "Combustion,"  and  which  we 
all  thought  up  to  our  dress  rehearsal  was  a  very  funny 
and  sufficient  vehicle  to  carry  the  last  half  of  our  eve- 
ning; but  it  was  neither.  To  this  rehearsal,  which  was 
held  in  Pope's  Theatre  on  the  Sunday  evening  before 
our  opening,  which  was  to  be  in  the  little  town  of  Mexico, 



Missouri,  we  invited  enough  of  our  acquaintances  com- 
fortably to  fill  the  parquet. 

"Editha's  Burglar"  did  all  that  we  had  expected  of  it. 
The  audience  was  enthusiastic.  Our  two  acts  of  "Com- 
bustion," with  an  ample  intermission,  went  less  than  an 
hour  and  a  half.  Our  comedy  wasn't  very  good,  and  it 
was  thirty  minutes  too  short.  After  the  play  we  knew 
enough  of  the  theatre  to  call  the  company  for  a  rehearsal 
at  noon  next  day.  Edgar  Smith  and  I  met  in  the  morn- 
ing for  heroic  work.  While  merely  trifling  and  waiting 
about  at  moments  during  the  weeks  of  preparation  it 
had  been  the  occasional  practice  of  David,  Smith,  Sulli- 
van, and  myself  to  get  together  and  sing  what  were  known 
in  those  days  as  barber  shops — quatrains  from  the  pop- 
ular songs,  with  very  close  harmony  at  effective  points, 
all  marked  out  and  rehearsed  by  David.  We  would  do 
one  or  two  of  those.  In  one  of  the  Vokes  comedies  Fred 
had  a  table  scene  in  which  he  endeavored  to  carve  a  tough 
fowl.  This  was  an  old  stunt  with  him,  thoroughly  elab- 
orated and  filled  with  all  manner  of  tricks,  from  shooting 
the  resisting  bird  into  a  lady's  lap  to  pursuing  it  with  his 
knife  up  and  down  the  legs  of  the  table,  where  he  led  it 
with  his  fork.  As  there  was  a  dinner  scene  in  our  piece, 
we  resolved  to  introduce  that  foolery,  with  which  I  was 
perfectly  familiar.  Three  or  four  other  interpolations 
convinced  us  that  we  could  pad  up  the  evening  to  some- 
thing like  the  required  length.  We  cued  in  these  few 
turns  and  got  ready  to  leave  town,  a  very  apprehensive 
bunch  of  inexperienced  barnstormers. 

On  the  day  of  our  departure  from  St.  Louis  we  were 
in  a  higher  degree  of  excitement  than  even  young  people 
can  attain  for  the  ordinary  embarkation.  We  had  spent 
a  morning  patching  equipment,  and  it  was  therefore 


only  by  crowding  appointments  that  I  was  able  to  re- 
spond to  a  call  from  George  McManus  to  be  sure  and 
see  him  at  the  Grand  Opera  House  before  leaving  town. 
I  had  only  five  minutes  at  his  window,  but  he  said  he 
could  deliver  his  message  in  even  less  time.  A  great 
many  companies  were  coming  to  grief  at  that  time  in 
the  West — organizations  with  New  York  records  and 
indorsements — and  here  we  were,  a  little  band  with  not 
even  a  St.  Louis  pronouncement  of  our  complete  product, 
with  no  reputation  as  an  organization,  and  not  any  as 
individual  members,  almost  asking  for  disaster. 

With  the  most  serious  face  in  the  world,  and  of  course 
with  all  these  facts  in  mind,  McManus  said  to  me,  "What 
is  your  first  big  stand?'* 

I  told  him  Minneapolis.  He  took  pad  and  pencil,  put 
down  relatively  two  dots,  one  marked  St.  Louis  and  one 
marked  Minneapolis.  He  then  drew  an  arrow  between 
them,  indicating  general  direction.  "You  see,"  he  said, 
"going  up  you  are  going  northwest."  He  drew  a  parallel 
arrow,  but  reversed,  and  then  added,  "Coming  home 
you  will  be  going  southeast;  just  remember  that." 

With  this  pessimistic  implication  to  be  shaken  off,  I 
joined  my  friends  and  made  the  train. 

Our  first  stand,  Mexico,  Missouri,  was  then  a  railroad 
town  with  probably  three  thousand  inhabitants,  but 
enough  surrounding  population  to  justify  its  little  wooden 
opera-house.  The  audience  was  not  critical.  We  were 
delightfully  surprised,  as  theatrical  people  often  are,  to 
discover  that  the  material  added  hurriedly  as  after- 
thoughts was  of  the  most  effective.  Our  little  barber- 
shop quatrains  went  so  well  that  we  had  to  repeat  them. 
The  next  day,  moving  to  the  next  town,  we  added  two 
or  three  encores.  In  a  week  we  were  giving  a  smooth 


performance  of  what  simple  people  of  the  Middle  West 
called  a  good  show. 

The  little  playhouses  of  that  time  were  more  inade- 
quately equipped  behind  the  scenes  than  they  were  in 
front.  Sometimes,  not  often,  a  curtain  had  to  separate 
the  dressing-room  of  the  men  from  that  of  the  women. 
In  one  little  town  whose  name  and  locality  I  have  for- 
gotten there  was  no  dressing-room  at  all,  nor  room  for 
one.  We  were  expected  to  do  what  every  company  that 
visited  the  town  did:  We  dressed  in  a  shop  that  was 
occupied  by  a  cobbler  in  the  daytime  and  lent  to  the 
theatre  at  night.  It  was  some  forty  feet  from  the  stage 
door,  and  on  the  night  I  have  in  mind  we  all  of  us — men, 
women,  and  the  little  girl — covered  the  distance  between 
these  two  places  in  the  rain. 

In  Muscatine,  Iowa,  a  pretty  little  town  on  the  west 
bank  of  the  Mississippi,  the  theatre  was  a  second-story 
room,  built  over  some  stores  on  the  main  street.  It  was 
lighted  by  coal-oil  lamps,  three  or  four  of  them  behind 
tins  for  footlights,  and  a  large  one,  a  circular  burner, 
hanging  permanently  above  the  middle  of  the  stage. 
The  machinery  of  these  lamps  was  not  in  the  best  con- 
dition, but  the  audience  felt  perfect  confidence  in  the 
watchfulness  of  the  janitor,  who  sat  in  the  front  row, 
with  his  attention  divided  between  the  play  and  these 
coal-oil  burners. 

Smith  and  I  had  reached  the  most  effective  and  dra- 
matic part  of  the  Burglar  sketch  when  this  tall  figure 
rose  from  the  front  row  of  kitchen  chairs  and  said  with 
irresistible  authority,  "Wait  a  minute!  Wait  a  min- 

We  stopped.  There  was  no  laugh  in  the  audience,  no 
protest.  The  man  climbed  onto  the  stage,  which  was 


only  about  three  feet  high  from  the  floor,  pulled  his 
kitchen  chair  after  him,  set  it  in  the  middle  of  the  scene, 
stood  on  it,  turned  down  the  lamp  overhead,  very  care- 
fully regarded  it  a  moment  with  the  eye  of  an  expert, 
got  down,  took  the  chair,  retired  to  the  floor  of  the  audi- 
torium, turned  and  waved  to  us  with  a  peremptory  "Go 

We  went  on.  The  audience  was  evidently  used  to  this 
as  a  regular  feature  of  the  visiting  entertainments.  It 
was,  however,  pretty  hard  for  Smith  and  me  to  look  each 
other  in  the  eye  and  proceed  with  the  lines,  especially 
with  the  wheezy  laughter  of  the  company  half  smoth- 
ered in  the  wings. 

Our  various  stays,  measured  by  hours,  in  these  little 
towns  differed  of  course,  being  governed  as  they  were 
by  the  time  of  the  arriving  and  departing  trains  and  the 
distance  to  the  next  stand.  Often  we  got  in  comfort- 
ably late  in  the  forenoon,  had  time  to  see  that  our  scenery 
and  baggage  reached  the  theatre  and  was  properly  placed, 
and  then  found  ourselves  with  an  entire  afternoon  at  our 
disposal  in  some  picturesque  little  place,  full  of  interest 
for  the  visitor.  There  might  be  a  lake  or  a  little  stream 
with  rowboats;  there  was  always  a  stable  with  accept- 
able saddle-horses,  and  if  one  were  a  walker  two  or  three 
minutes  took  him  into  the  lanes  and  fields  outside. 

My  own  interest  in  every  part  of  America  had  been 
stimulated  by  early  political  associations.  The  men  I 
remembered  with  admiration  had  come  from  little  dis- 
tricts such  as  these  all  over  the  country.  The  features 
that  characterized  these  districts,  to  some  of  which  we 
now  were  going;  the  products  that  made  them  valuable 
in  contributing  to  the  welfare  of  the  commonwealth;  the 
relation  of  the  plain,  wise,  sturdy  people  to  the  tasks 


upon  which  these  products  depended;  the  human  ca- 
pacity of  the  individual  to  be  interested  in  the  work  at 
hand,  and  kindred  things,  were  always  as  entertaining 
as  a  storybook. 

After  we  had  been  out  a  short  while  we  were  joined  by 
Will  Smythe,  who  came  to  us  in  the  capacity  of  business- 
manager.  The  late  William  G.  Smythe — or  as  we  knew 
him  familiarly,  Billy  Smythe — remained  in  the  theatrical 
business  as  manager  or  producer  until  he  died  in  Sep- 
tember, 1921,  while  occupying  a  position  as  David  Bel- 
asco's  booking-agent. 

They  treated  us  rather  well  in  Minneapolis.  The 
papers,  morning  and  evening,  were  complimentary.  But 
I  have  always  attributed  much  of  this  to  the  influence 
of  W.  C.  Edgar,  editor  of  the  Northwestern  Miller,  pub- 
lished in  Minneapolis  and  at  that  time  owned  by  Charles 
Palmer,  who  subsequently  became  business-manager  of 
the  New  York  American. 

One  night  after  the  play  Smith,  Smythe,  David,  and 
I  went  to  Edgar's  and  played  poker.  I  think  some  one 
in  our  party  must  have  won  a  little,  because  we  were 
coming  back  in  excellent  good-nature.  As  we  neared 
the  Hennepin  House,  the  hotel  at  which  we  were  stay- 
ing, we  became  aware  of  some  excitement  about  the 
place,  and  a  gathering  of  fire-engines,  one  of  which  was 
still  working,  indicating  that  we  had  come  in  at  the  finish 
of  a  fire.  This  proved  to  have  been  in  a  small  building 
to  the  rear  of  the  hotel.  The  crowd  that  still  remained 
was  intensely  interested  in  an  excited  individual  who 
was  looking  from  one  of  the  small  windows  under  the 
eaves  on  the  topmost  floor  of  the  hotel,  which  was  about 
six  stories  high.  This  person  was  calling  in  a  most  com- 
plicated German  dialect,  asking  if  he  should  throw  his 


trunk  from  the  window;  calling  for  somebody  to  put  up 
a  ladder;  making  all  kinds  of  appeals  to  the  crowd  that 
was  hooting  at  him  from  below.  It  didn't  take  our  party 
long  to  recognize  this  excited  roomer  as  our  Irish  come- 
dian, Billy  Sullivan,  who  had  not  been  invited  to  the 
poker  party,  but  had  met  much  more  entertainment  at 

In  the  hotel  corridor  we  found  one  of  the  clerks  com- 
plaining of  this  performance  and  that  the  door  was  locked 
and  he  couldn't  get  into  the  room.  Sullivan,  answering 
our  calls  over  the  transom,  admitted  us.  He  was  highly 
elated  over  the  attention  he  had  attracted,  and  was  a 
perfect  hero  in  the  eyes  of  little  Delia,  who  had  come 
across  the  hall  in  her  wrapper  to  prompt  him  in  this 
escapade.  Papers  reporting  the  fire  the  next  morning 
carried  a  serious  account  of  this  frightened  German,  who 
was  saved  from  jumping  only  by  the  cries  of  citizens 

On  this  first  trip  it  was  a  great  happiness  for  us  to 
meet  such  able  men  writing  for  the  theatre  as  George 
Goodale  of  Detroit,  Elwyn  Barren,  Teddy  McFeelam, 
and  Biff  Hall  of  Chicago,  and  the  men  of  equal  serious- 
ness in  the  other  cities,  all  of  whom  without  exception 
spoke  of  the  comedy,  "Combustion,"  as  being  enter- 
taining, clean,  full  of  fun;  commending  it  more  or  less 
in  the  vein  of  one  writer  who  said:  "The  only  wonder 
is  how  and  where  so  small  a  party  collected  such  a  budget 
of  amusing  nonsense."  These  criticisms  were  valuable 
not  only  in  addressing  the  public  when  we  were  again  on 
tour  the  following  season,  but  they  were  influential  with 
theatrical  owners  everywhere  in  getting  time.  It  must 
be  remembered  that  in  1884  there  were  no  theatrical 
syndicates.  Men  who  owned  theatres  had  not  delegated 


Standing:  Edgar  Smith,  William  G.  Smythe,  Pearl  Dudley,  Augustus  Thomas,  Delia  Fox. 
Seated:  Sydney  Haven,  Frank  David,  Nellie  Page. 


to  any  central  authority  in  New  York  or  elsewhere  the 
task  of  putting  attractions  in  their  theatres.  They  were 
not  linked  in  a  chain.  Each  manager  selected  his  own 
attractions  and  each  company  corresponded  by  letter 
and  by  wire  voluminously  to  organize  suitable  tours. 

The  regular  bill  of  our  company  was  "Editha's  Bur- 
glar" and  "Combustion."  We  had,  however,  two  or 
three  other  little  things,  such  as  Gilbert's  "Sweethearts" 
and  Bernard's  "His  Last  Legs."  "His  Last  Legs"  had 
a  longer  cast  than  we  were  well  prepared  for.  We  met 
this  by  having  Smythe  come  from  the  front  of  the  house 
and  play  old  Mr.  Rivers,  and  by  changing  the  footman 
to  a  housemaid  and  giving  that  part  -fed  little  Delia;  and 
she  was  very  cute  in  it  too.  Our  second  comedian,  Sulli- 
van, had  to  be  cast  as  a  walking  gentleman,  one  Doctor 
Banks.  This  was  a  role  quite  within  the  capacity  of  any 
utility  man  in  the  world,  but  as  he  had  to  wear  a  high 
hat  and  gloves  and  present  O'Callahan  with  a  card  in 
the  front  scene  and  speak  a  serious  line  or  two  about 
looking,  for  a  long-lost  daughter,  the  pfetense  of  it  was 
so  far  afield  of  anything  Sullivan  had  ever  imagined 
himself  doing  that  he  was  almost  panic-stricken  with  the 
assignment.  This  was  in  no  wise  relieved  by  the  con- 
duct of  Delia,  who  considered  it  her  business  on  the  tour 

.  / 

to  regard  Sullivan  as  her  particular  play  boy  of  the  West- 
ern world.  In  and  out  of  the  theatre  these  two  were  given 
to  guying  each  other  and  to  practical  jokes. 

Delia  had  a  little  sand  jig  to  do  in  "Combustion."  It 
was  quite  good  enough  and  up  to  the  standard  of  that 
time,  and  I  am  sure  Sullivan  thought  well  of  it;  but  he 
made  it  very  difficult  for  the  little  girl  by  standing  in  the 
wing  when  nobody  in  authority  was  around  and  dra- 
matizing the  insufferable  torture  that  it  gave  him  to  wit- 


ness  her  pretended  skill.  Delia's  turn  to  get  even  came 
when  Sullivan  had  to  walk  on  as  a  gentleman  in  the  part 
of  Doctor  Banks.  Her  scenes  followed  closely  upon  his 
own,  and  during  all  his  time  on  the  stage  Delia  was  in 
the  prompt  entrance  with  clinched  fists  and  agonized 
looks  to  heaven. 

After  his  first  performance  of  the  part  Sullivan  de- 
clared that  he  would  never  go  on  for  it  again;  but  there 
was  no  choice  between  doing  so  and  leaving  the  com- 
pany. With  each  added  performance  his  distress 
mounted,  until  by  the  time  we  had  finished  the  season 
Doctor  Banks  was  a  nightmare  with  him.  He  studied 
the  route  ahead  in  his  effort  to  figure  out  where  we  might 
possibly  want  to  put  up  that  bill.  Will  Smythe,  a  good 
deal  of  the  joker  himself,  would  occasionally  invade  the 
smoking-car  with  a  forged  telegram  from  some  manager 
ahead  asking  for  this  comedy  of  "His  Last  Legs,"  and 
read  it  to  me  or  to  Smith  loudly  enough  for  scraps  of  it 
to  reach  Sullivan  across  the  aisle. 

The  name  of  the  character,  Doctor  Banks,  finally  passed 
into  Sullivan's  vocabulary  as  descriptive  of  any  inade- 
quate person  in  life.  Occasionally  when  he  lost  his  tem- 
per about  something  else  and  had  exhausted  the  polite 
and  impolite  expletives  at  the  command  of  the  average 
tough  he  would  finish  by  adding  that  the  party  under 
condemnation  was  a  regular  Doctor  Banks.  Language 
could  convey  no  more. 

The  theatre  all  over  the  country  at  that  time  was  suf- 
fering from  the  competition  of  roller  skating,  which  was 
then  a  craze.  The  rinks  throughout  the  country  made 
as  much  of  a  bid  for  persons  who  would  otherwise  have 
gone  to  the  theatre  as  the  motion  pictures  now  make. 
Though  as  actors  we  disapproved  of  this  fad,  we  were 


not  superior  to  it,  and  many  an  hour  in  the  afternoons 
was  used  up  by  visits  to  the  rink.  Mr.  Smythe  was  gen- 
erally busy  during  these  times  with  his  books  or  his  other 
business  duties.  Sullivan  inferred  from  this  that  Smythe 
was  afraid  of  the  roller  skates,  and  he  thought  it  would 
be  fine  fun  to  lure  him  to  a  rink  and  then  laugh  at  his 
mishaps  when  he  had  been  equipped  with  a  pair  of  skates. 
Smythe  evaded  these  attempts  for  a  time,  but  finally 

I  must  confess  that  all  of  us  had  more  or  less  indirectly 
assisted  Sullivan  in  his  plan.  We  were  all  present  on  the 
afternoon  in  mind;  we  stood  about  while  Sullivan  care- 
fully strapped  the  skates  onto  Smythe.  We  restrained 
our  laughter  as  Sullivan  and  David  with  difficulty  helped 
him  from  his  seat  to  a  prominent  place  on  the  smooth 
floor  of  the  rink,  and  then  left  him  alone  and  unsup- 
ported. To  the  surprise  of  all,  however,  Smythe's  first 
move  was  to  go  into  what  is  called  the  spread-eagle,  a 
difficult  figure,  with  the  heels  together  and  the  toes  point- 
ing in  opposite  directions.  From  this  he  passed  on  to 
cutting  a  few  figure  eights,  and  finished  with  a  pirouette 
on  his  toes  that  would  have  done  credit  to  any  profes- 
sional. We  had  all  coaxed  an  expert  with  medals  into 
this  intended  exhibition  of  a  tyro ! 

Little  Delia  Fox  was  a  pupil  of  Nellie  Page,  who  was 
our  leading  woman.  The  Fox  and  Page  families  were 
neighbors  and  friends,  and  Delia  was  placed  in  the  care 
of  Miss  Page  during  her  tour  with  us.  One  of  the  con- 
ditions of  her  being  permitted  to  go  with  us  was  that 
she  was  to  carry  her  schoolbooks,  and  her  studies  were 
not  to  be  abandoned.  The  role  of  pedagogue  was  mine. 
As  we  weren't  paying  salaries  with  any  regularity,  and 
as  her  money  went  home  anyway,  the  usual  theatre  fine 


for  a  breach  of  discipline  meant  nothing,  but  to  fine  her 
one  extra  lesson  was  effective. 

Outside  her  studies  she  had  a  child's  curiosity  in  all 
questions  raised  by  the  features  of  our  shifting  environ- 
ment. This  was  generally  satisfied  by  some  member  of 
the  company,  but  not  in  the  spirit  of  seriousness  that 
should  guide  an  education.  There  was  a  disposition, 
especially  on  the  part  of  the  men,  to  tease  rather  than  to 
inform.  For  example,  meeting  the  word  frequently  on 
the  bills  of  fare,  Delia  wanted  to  know,  "What  is  a 
veal?"  Everybody  tried  to  describe  it  to  her  in  terms 
of  elimination;  it  wasn't  as  large  as  a  cow;  didn't  have 
wings  like  a  chicken,  and  so  on;  and  all  so  seriously  that 
Delia  went  through  the  season,  hurrying  now  and  then 
to  the  car  window,  but  always  too  late  to  see  a  veal  that 
we  had  just  passed.  In  the  beautiful  little  city  of  Madi- 
son, Wisconsin,  business  was  bad  because  there  was  a 
meeting  of  the  alumni  that  competed.  Delia  wanted  to 
know  what  an  alumni  was.  Smythe  was  trying  to  tell 
her  in  the  usual  way,  eliminating  colors,  wings,  and  the 
like.  Delia,  hoping  to  make  better  progress  by  com- 
bining ideas,  asked  if  it  was  anything  like  a  veal.  Smythe 
told  her  it  was  very  much  like  a  veal,  only  it  didn't  know 
so  much. 

It  was  not  always  possible  to  get  first-class  trains. 
On  more  than  one  trip  we  had  to  be  content  for  a  short 
jump  with  the  company  huddled  in  with  the  trainmen 
in  their  caboose.  One  awkward  booking  forced  us 
into  that  kind  of  travel  overnight.  We  reached  our 
hotel  early  in  the  morning.  Delia  walked  to  the  hotel 

The  clerk,  noticing  her  dishevelled  appearance,  said: 
"What's  the  matter,  kid?" 


Delia  answered:   "I've  been  in  a  calaboose  all  night." 

She  looked  it. 

I  think  I  should  tell  of  our  advance  man,  Frank  Hamil- 
ton, because  in  some  other  important  business  ventures 
and  episodes  growing  out  of  them  Hamilton  and  I  were 
intimately  associated.  He  was  not  quite  thirty  years 
old,  but  looked  a  bit  older.  You  could  safely  call  him 
colonel  or  judge  in  any  group  without  risking  doubt  of 
your  seriousness.  For  a  short  time  he  had  been  an  ac- 
tor; for  a  shorter  time  an  unsuccessful  star.  He  had 
the  most  unbounded  confidence  in  himself  and  his  ca- 
pacity to  carry  out  anything  that  he  undertook;  but 
as  soon  as  Hamilton  filled  in  all  the  outlines  of  any  sud- 
den conception,  and  was  able  fairly  to  communicate  the 
figure  to  one  or  two  other  minds,  he  was  ready  to  abandon 
it  for  some  newer  and  more  inviting  dream.  Sometimes 
where  there  was  a  gap  in  the  route  the  duty  to  get  a  date 
for  us  fell  to  him.  His  optimism  concerning  the  business 
we  would  do  at  any  place  he  selected  and  thought  about 
was  sufficient  for  him  to  feel  guaranteed  in  the  required 
railroad  journey,  however  long.  My  only  venture  as  the 
owner  of  a  newspaper  was  following  one  of  Hamilton's 
will-o'-the-wisps.  The  only  time  I  felt  I  was  sharing  the 
lease  of  a  theatre  was  when  we  went  arm  in  arm  after 
another  prospect. 

Getting  home  from  this  try-out  trip  of  ours  as  we  did 
late  in  June,  with  the  intention  of  beginning  a  regular 
season  toward  the  end  of  August,  left  us  players  with  not 
much  more  than  six  weeks'  vacation,  which  we  employed 
leisurely  improving  material  we  had  as  to  text  and  in 
getting  new  songs,  and  the  like.  The  trip  had  been  vastly 
interesting  and  educational,  but  there  was  salary  owing 
to  the  company,  and  unpaid  paper  bills  at  the  local 


printers',  the  Springer  Lithograph  Company.  What- 
ever our  trip  had  proved  besides,  it  had  certainly  shown 
that  we  were  not  a  paying  enterprise  in  a  spring  season 
over  small  time  in  the  Middle  West. 



Those  were  sad  vacation  days,  divided  as  were  our 
hopes  and  our  actual  prospects.  Mr.  Dickson  bravely 
argued  that  we  had  done  all  that  we  had  any  reason  to 
expect  in  the  way  of  business.  We  had  a  perfected  enter- 
tainment and  a  scrap-book  of  notices  that  many  a  New 
York  manager  would  have  given  thousands  of  dollars 
rightly  to  own.  Furthermore,  the  offers  for  return  dates 
in  the  regular  season  were  most  reassuring.  One  menace 
lay  in  the  fact  that  nearly  every  member  of  the  com- 
pany had  received  some  flattering  offer  from  other  man- 
agers who  had  seen  our  work  in  Minneapolis,  Milwaukee, 
or  Chicago. 

My  first  meeting  with  A.  L.  Erlanger,  for  so  many 
years  the  head  of  the  syndicate  that  later  controlled  the 
business  of  the  American  theatres,  and  still  in  that  posi- 
tion, was  at  the  end  of  this  summer.  Mr.  Erlanger,  then 
a  young  man,  probably  younger  than  I  was,  as  he  is  now 
younger  than  I  am,  was  managing  the  first  financial  ven- 
ture of  magnitude  on  his  own  account.  This  was  a  play 
called  "Dagmar,"  of  which  the  star  was  Louise  Balfe. 
I  had  been  in  to  see  it  on  Tuesday  night  of  its  early  week 
at  Pope's,  and  was  in  the  lobby  of  the  theatre  during  an 
intermission  when  Dickson  called  me  and  introduced 
us.  The  young  manager  said  that  he  would  like  me  to 
replace  his  leading  man,  an  actor  by  the  name  of  William 
Harris,  not  related  to  either  of  those  prominent  managers 
of  New  York,  the  late  William  Harris  or  the  present 



William  Harris,  his  son,  and  that  he  would  pay  me 
seventy-five  dollars  a  week,  a  large  salary  for  a  road  lead- 
ing man  at  that  time.  I  declined  the  offer  and  went  on 
my  errand  to  the  near-by  cafe.  He  met  me  again  during 
the  following  intermission  and  raised  the  offer  to  one 
hundred  dollars,  which  I  also  declined. 

During  the  last  year  of  the  World  War,  1918,  I  was  at 
Mr.  Erlanger's  dinner-table  in  New  York  with  a  number 
of  men  who  were  discussing  some  war  aid  in  which  the 
theatres  were  interested.  To  my  astonishment  he  re- 
ferred to  that  first  meeting  at  Pope's  thirty-four  years 
before.  He  asked  me  if  I  remembered  my  reasons  for 
refusing  to  go  with  the  company,  and  told,  to  the  amuse- 
ment of  the  company,  that  I  had  said:  "I  won't  go,  be- 
cause I  think  you  have  a  bad  play  which  should  be  in 
the  storehouse."  And  the  Napoleon  of  managers  laughed 
heartily  at  this  freshness. 

"But  Thomas  was  right,"  he  added,  "and  I  should 
have  saved  money  by  taking  his  advice  at  the  time." 

I  then  told  him  of  a  reinforcement  that  had  been  given 
to  my  estimate  of  the  play.  Before  I  had  gone  into  the 
theatre  on  that  Tuesday  night  I  had  met  our  Dickson 
Sketch  Club  comedian,  Billy  Sullivan,  whose  anguish  at 
having  to  play  a  straight  part  I  have  related.  The  week 
before  Mr.  Erlanger's  engagement  in  the  theatre  the  at- 
traction had  been  one  Ada  Richmond,  a  rather  indifferent 
type  of  burlesque  woman  in  as  bad  a  performance  as 
could  be  imagined. 

I  said  to  Sullivan,  "How  is  the  'Dagmar*  piece?" 

With  a  seriousness  that  intensified  the  unconscious 
humor  of  his  remark,  he  answered:  "Why,  Gus,  it's 
a  case  of  Ada  Richmond  with  a  whole  cast  of  Doctor 


My  refusal  to  go  with  "Dagmar"  at  a  hundred  dollars 
showed  me  how  truly  at  heart  I  preferred  our  little  home 
company.  My  own  wavering  was  over,  and  the  other 
boys  fell  into  line  for  a  big  try  at  a  real  tour.  As  I  looked 
over  Dickson's  route  sheets  for  the  coming  season,  fairly 
filled  as  they  were  for  the  early  months,  and  for  later 
ones  marked  out  with  indicated  points  of  importance 
between  which  we  should  manoeuvre  the  tissue  of  con- 
necting engagements,  I  had  a  great  eagerness,  inspired 
by  the  prospect  of  such  a  season  in  a  little  commonwealth 
company  wherein  were  no  stars,  where  the  proprietors 
were  comrades  and  where  baby-girl  and  impecunious 
owner  and  accomplished  manager  got  each  the  demo- 
cratic salary  of  forty  dollars  a  week,  with  no  guaranty 
and  infrequent  realization.  You  can't  go  far  wrong  on 
forty  dollars  a  week;  but  if  you  are  willing  to  waive  its 
collection  and  transmute  the  debt  into  railroad  tickets 
with  an  intermittently  encouraging  patronage  you  can 
cover  a  lot  of  ground. 

Starting  on  this  regular  season,  we  naturally  recovered 
the  territory  of  our  try-out.  The  people  remembered 
us  and  we  did  not  do  badly.  One  of  those  filling-in  jumps 
referred  to  as  sometimes  made  by  our  advance  man 
carried  us  from  Stillwater,  Minnesota,  to  Winnipeg, 
Manitoba,  broken  only  by  a  stop  at  St.  Cloud,  about 
seventy-five  miles  north  of  St.  Paul.  The  round  trip 
was  all  based  on  Hamilton's  hopes  of  Winnipeg,  inspired 
by  some  glowing  description  by  a  local  manager.  Still- 
water  is  a  beautiful  little  town  on  the  St.  Croix  River, 
almost  due  east  of  Minneapolis.  We  were  playing  there 
Friday  night,  and  made  St.  Cloud  for  Saturday,  and  then 
had  Sunday  to  get  into  Winnipeg  and  prepare  for  the 
week.  To  do  this  we  were  to  make  a  very  early  start 


from  Stillwater  and  change  cars  at  St.  Paul.  We  left  a 
night  call  with  the  hotel  proprietor  and  went  to  bed. 
I  waked  in  the  morning  about  fifteen  minutes  before 
train  time,  ran  along  the  hall  where  we  were  quartered, 
roused  the  company  and  without  breakfast  made  a  dash 
for  the  station,  but  too  late.  The  next  train  would  get 
us  into  St.  Cloud  at  about  the  time  we  should  ring  up 
for  the  play,  with  no  margin  for  getting  the  scenery  to 
the  theatre  or  making  ourselves  up  for  the  characters. 
The  hotel  proprietor  thought  that  we  might  drive  across 
country  in  time  to  get  the  train  scheduled  to  take  us  out 
of  St.  Paul.  But  after  consulting  with  the  livery-stable 
man  this  was  found  to  be  impracticable.  The  scenery 
and  baggage  had  gone  on  the  train. 

On  a  quick  decision  it  was  agreed  that  Sullivan  and  I 
should  try  the  cross-country  drive.  The  stable  keeper 
sent  us  a  double  surrey,  with  two  ordinary-looking  horses, 
and  a  boy  of  fourteen  to  drive.  We  started.  The  boy 
handled  his  team  with  the  knowledge  and  composure  of 
a  veteran.  Sullivan  and  I  complained  of  the  slow  pace 
we  were  taking.  The  boy  figured  that  the  drive  could 
be  made  in  time  to  give  us  a  margin  of  ten  minutes  on 
the  train,  somewhat  over  two  hours,  as  I  remember;  that 
to  rush  the  horses  would  be  to  tire  them  out  and  not 
make  the  connection.  We  thought  that  more  speed 
could  be  safely  tried;  but  the  lad  insisted  that  he  was 
in  charge  of  the  expedition  and  that  he  would  conduct 
it  to  suit  himself. 

At  last  on  a  little  lift  in  the  rise  of  the  landscape  the 
boy,  pointing  to  a  distant  cloud  of  smoke,  collection  of 
chimneys  and  roofs,  said:  '"That  is  St.  Paul." 

The  horses  had  increased  their  speed  little  if  any,  but 
were  now  moving  with  great  regularity,  and  under  the 


guidance  of  this  little  tow-headed  North  American  we 
went  up  to  the  proper  station  in  St.  Paul  fifteen  minutes 
ahead  of  the  time.  We  were  able  to  get  sandwiches  and 
some  coffee  at  a  stand  in  the  terminal  and  make  our  train, 
on  which  we  had  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  the  car  with 
our  scenery  and  baggage  already  hooked.  This  put  Sul- 
livan and  me  into  the  town  of  St.  Cloud  early  in  the  after- 
noon. We  had  the  scenes  set  and  the  baggage  distributed 
for  the  company  that  arrived  at  eight.  We  also  had  time 
to  get  out  some  hand-bills  and  explain  to  the  little  com- 
munity, who  had  seen  no  company  arrive  upon  the  morn- 
ing train,  the  situation  as  it  stood,  and  promise  them  the 
plays  as  advertised  in  the  evening. 

When  we  got  into  Winnipeg  we  were  astonished  to 
find  that  it  was  winter.  It  was  late  autumn  in  the  States. 
But  in  this  city  of  Manitoba  the  ground  was  covered  with 
snow.  All  vehicles  had  been  taken  from  their  wheels 
and  were  upon  runners;  the  roads  were  already  packed. 
The  hotel  at  which  we  stopped  was  fitted  with  storm 
sashes  outside  the  working  windows,  closed  in  for  the 
winter  siege. 

Despite  the  optimism  of  Hamilton  and  the  genial  hopes 
of  the  local  manager,  we  didn't  open  to  much  business. 
There  is  always  an  excuse  in  a  little  town  for  bad  busi- 
ness; the  local  manager  has  alibis.  They  begin  about 
a  quarter  of  eight,  when  the  house  is  not  promising,  by 
his  assertion  that  the  people  come  late;  and  finish  by  his 
suddenly  remembering  that  there  is  a  church  sociable  or 
gathering  of  equal  importance,  or  some  local  political 
excitement  that  explains  the  lack  of  patronage.  The 
saddest  excuse  that  you  can  get  is  that  the  people  are 
saving  their  money  for  the  attraction  that  is  to  follow. 

In  Winnipeg  a  local  malefactor  had  broken  jail  a  day 


or  two  before  our  arrival  and  made  his  escape.  He  had 
been  recaptured  and  brought  back.  The  lieutenant- 
governor  of  Manitoba,  resenting  this  criminal's  failure 
to  respect  the  iron  bars,  had  caused  him  to  be  flogged; 
and  the  free  Englishmen  of  that  fine  little  city  were  dis- 
cussing this  punishment.  They  had  finally  come  to  the 
conclusion  that  a  man  in  jail  was  justified  in  dismissing 
any  moral  restraint  that  bars  were  supposed  to  imply. 
His  right  to  escape  was  by  implication  just  as  inalienable 
as  his  measure  of  beer  by  the  London  quarter  guaranteed 
by  Article  XXXV  of  Magna  Carta.  The  debate  of  this 
flogging  order  had  slowly  mounted  into  indignation,  and 
finally  into  something  very  like  rebellion. 

As  we  were  ringing  up  on  our  first  performance  the 
lieutenant-governor  was  in  the  midst  of  a  banquet  at 
the  Windsor  Hotel.  The  after-dinner  speeches  were  in- 
terrupted by  a  crowd  of  Englishmen  that  was  rapidly 
gathering  outside,  looking  for  his  excellency.  The  hotel 
proprietor  had  been  forced  to  lock  his  doors,  guard  his 
windows,  and  finally  the  lieutenant-governor,  after  an 
hour  or  two  of  this  menace,  was  covertly  conducted  out 
the  back  way,  in  disguise,  and  spirited  off  in  a  sleigh  in 
order  to  save  his  skin.  When  we  came  home  from  the 
theatre  the  police  had  to  help  us  to  get  through  the  mob, 
and  we  had  to  be  identified  before  we  could  be  admitted 
to  the  hotel.  The  women  were  frightened ;  all  of  us  men 
were  impressed.  But  one  thing  about  which  we  agreed 
was  that  that  was  the  largest  audience  out  there  we  had 
seen  for  some  weeks.  Somehow  this  suggestion  caught 
in  the  tinder  of  my  political  recollections  and  prepara- 
tions. When  we  reached  the  second  story  I  went  out 
on  a  little  iron  balcony,  while  Will  Smythe  and  Edgar 
Smith  stood  behind  me  in  the  doorway. 


It  was  impossible  for  the  people  below  to  distinguish 
this  figure  silhouetted  against  the  lighted  but  curtained 
windows.  To  them  it  seemed  to  be  some  messenger  from 
the  fugitive  official  they  were  hunting.  With  the  fool- 
hardiness  of  twenty-seven  I  addressed  them  as  fellow 
citizens,  lifted  my  hands  for  silence,  which  came  quickly, 
then  leaned  on  the  rail  and  spoke  as  I  fancied  Elaine  or 
Logan  would  have  addressed  them. 

The  night  was  cold  and  clear;  the  houses  opposite 
made  a  fine  background;  it  was  as  good  a  place  for  a 
political  address  as  a  man  could  ask  for.  I  began  with 
a  paragraph  or  two  about  the  rights  of  Englishmen,  the 
guaranties  of  their  great  unwritten  constitution,  the 
elaboration  of  that  in  tradition  and  practices;  spoke  of 
the  reason  for  their  coming  to  the  hotel  doors;  told  them 
that  among  the  rights  of  every  Englishman  were  those  of 
self-expression  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness;  and  then 
mentioned  the  Dickson  Sketch  Club  playing  at  the  opera- 
house,  where  the  most  pleasure  for  the  least  money 

Bang !  A  shower  of  snowballs  caught  me  and  my 
friends  standing  behind  and  broke  a  number  of  windows. 
I  was  dragged  inside  and  some  man,  speaking  more  di- 
rectly to  the  facts  from  the  door  below,  finally  got  them 
to  believe  that  the  lieutenant-governor  had  escaped. 

The  next  day  the  agitation  in  the  community  kept  up. 
The  people  didn't  know  the  man  who  had  been  whipped; 
they  didn't  care  anything  about  that.  Their  rights  had 
been  invaded  by  an  appointed  official.  The  thing  that 
impressed  me  in  their  behavior  was  the  way  they  went 
about  their  self-assertion.  Instead  of  being  perfectly 
satisfied  with  getting  something  on  the  editorial  page  in 
the  public  forum  signed  by  a  Lover  of  Liberty,  they  had 
moved  promptly  to  direct  action.  I  am  not  even  at  this 


date  prepared  to  advocate  their  methods  where  there  is 
a  judicial  machine  capable  to  redress,  but  there  is  fine 
value  in  tradition  and  in  its  authority  with  an  unmixed 

Despite  this  advertising,  our  business  on  the  second 
night  was  no  better.  The  local  manager  thought  our 
entertainment  was  not  so  hilarious  as  his  patrons  ex- 
pected. He  advised  a  change  of  bill.  We  were  ready 
with  "His  Last  Legs,"  and  in  order  to  present  a  full  eve- 
ning of  new  offering  we  decided  to  try  "Muldoon's  Pic- 
nic," which  we  had  been  discussing  for  some  time.  Sul- 
livan was  thoroughly  familiar  with  the  play  from  watch- 
ing two  or  three  engagements  in  which  Barry  and  Fay 
did  it  for  a  week  each  time.  David  also  had  watched 
it  from  the  orchestra,  and  little  Delia  had  played  the 
child  for  Barry  and  Fay  when  they  were  in  St.  Louis. 
I  had  some  familiarity  with  it  from  having  got  in  occa- 
sionally from  the  box-office. 

The  plan  was  to  put  this  on  Thursday  night.  In  the 
old  days,  twenty  years  before  the  time  of  which  I  am 
writing,  it  was  not  unusual  to  pitchfork  pieces  into  a 
production  in  that  hurried  way,  and  experienced  variety 
people  even  as  late  as  1900  would  get  together  and  put 
on  an  afterpiece  with  very  few  rehearsals  and  relying 
more  upon  tradition  than  upon  script.  It  was  necessary, 
however,  for  us  to  have  a  prompt  copy,  or  we  thought 
it  was.  Edgar  Smith  and  I  sat  down  to  tables  with  pens 
and  paper,  while  Sullivan,  David,  and  Delia  dictated  to 
us  the  play  as  they  remembered  it.  Smythe,  the  third 
of  our  scriveners'  department,  set  to  work  copying  parts 
for  the  women.  Delia  required  no  part.  She  was  herself 
an  authority.  Smith  and  I  preferred  to  copy  our  own, 
because  that  was  an  excellent  method  of  study.  David 
and  Sullivan  knew  the  play. 


A  principal  member  of  any  "Muldoon's  Picnic"  com- 
pany is  the  donkey.  We  found  one  on  a  farm,  guaran- 
teed his  full  value  to  his  owner,  and  hired  him  for  the 
last  half  of  the  week.  Our  auditorium  was  reached  by  a 
winding  staircase,  making  an  ascent  of  some  thirty  feet. 
The  donkey  refused  to  follow  or  drive  up  this,  so  we 
carried  him  to  the  parquet  and  down  the  side  aisle  and 
up  five  steps  more  to  the  stage.  We  played  "Muldoon's 
Picnic"  on  Thursday  evening.  All  the  work  I  have  in- 
dicated— writing  the  play,  writing  some  parts,  holding 
the  rehearsals  implied,  getting  the  donkey,  getting  our 
own  costumes — was  accomplished  in  thirty-six  hours, 
during  which  we  had  also  given  one  performance  of  our 
original  bill.  "Muldoon's  Picnic,"  with  Bernard's  farce, 
"His  Last  Legs,"  drew  enough  money  for  us  to  get  our 
railroad  fares  back  to  the  States  and  resume  our  tour 
in  northern  Wisconsin.  Sullivan's  agony  at  having  to 
play  Doctor  Banks  the  first  half  of  the  evening  was  as- 
suaged and  almost  compensated  by  his  chance  to  do 
Muldoon,  which  was  really  a  star  part. 

There  is  a  comic  episode  connected  with  another  pres- 
entation of  "Muldoon's  Picnic"  by  this  company.  It 
occurred  in  New  Orleans.  We  weren't  in  the  best  theatre. 
The  only  piece  of  local  scenery  that  would  serve  as  the 
required  picnic-ground  was  a  back  drop  representing  the 
Lakes  of  Killarney.  This  was  very  old  and  wrinkled 
and  was  suspended  from  the  gridiron.  To  take  out  the 
wrinkles,  the  carpenters  pulled  the  canvas  taut  and  nailed 
its  lower  batten,  or  wooden  rail,  to  the  stage.  David  as 
Mulcaby  had  to  mount  the  donkey  at  the  usual  moment 
in  the  second  act.  The  New  Orleans  donkey  was  not 
only  sulky  but  reactionary.  He  backed  up  against  the 
Lakes  of  Killarney,  and — cheered  rather  than  deterred 


by  this  opposition — backed  through  the  rotten  canvas 
and  disappeared  in  the  waters.  Nothing  during  the  week 
had  pleased  our  audience  so  much  as  that  vanishing  act, 
and  nothing  that  could  be  said  condemnatory  of  theatres 
in  general  and  donkeys  in  particular  was  omitted  by 
David,  whose  voice  from  behind  the  Killarney  Lakes 
was  fortunately  muffled  by  the  canvas  of  a  reunited  Ire- 
land and  drowned  by  the  screams  of  the  house  in  front. 

One  day  soon  after  our  return  to  the  States  I  found 
our  boys  in  the  smoking-car  roaring  with  delight  over  a 
little  comedy  in  Harper's  Magazine.  I  joined  them  and 
listened  to  the  smart  dialogue  of  "The  Elevator,"  by 
William  Dean  Howells.  That  was  my  first  knowledge 
of  him  as  a  dramatist.  The  effects  that  he  achieved  in 
that  little  play,  "The  Elevator,"  and  in  the  others  that 
followed  soon  after  were  very  educational  suggestions  to 
a  young  writer  as  to  what  could  be  done  in  the  theatre 
with  restraint  joined  to  precision. 

There  was  a  tidy  little  opera-house  in  Fort  Wayne, 
Indiana,  fixed  in  my  memory  by  the  clatter  of  tinware 
that  began  in  front  of  the  curtain  some  time  before  the 
overture  and  grew  to  a  deafening  charivari  in  a  few  min- 
utes. This  noise  was  a  result  of  the  gallery  rule  in  that 
house  that  every  boy  had  to  carry  with  him  to  his  seat 
a  tin  spittoon  from  a  stock  piled  at  the  doorway  where 
he  entered. 

The  effect  is  associated  in  my  mind  with  election  night. 
It  was  from  the  stage  of  that  little  opera-house  that  we 
announced  the  returns  of  the  presidential  election  in 
1884,  as  was  then  the  custom  in  the  theatres,  and  of 
course  still  is.  These  returns  were  read  during  inter- 
missions, but  as  the  excitement  mounted  the  interest  in 
them  more  than  equalled  that  in  the  play,  until  as  each 


fresh  telegram  came  an  actor  stepped  down  in  character 
and  read  its  contents  to  the  audience — such  and  such  a 
vote  for  Blaine,  or  this  or  that  State  indicated  for  Cleve- 

At  one  point  in  the  burlesque  that  closed  our  show 
Ned  Smith  appeared  as  a  spinster  of  the  Directoire 
period,  poke  bonnet  and  curls.  In  this  costume,  toward 
10.30  in  the  evening,  he  got  the  laugh  of  the  night  by 
reading  this  telegram: 

"Us  girls  seem  to  have  got  left  at  the  post. — Belva." 

This  revives  the  fact  which  many,  even  those  rather 
well  informed  politically,  never  fixed  in  their  minds — 
that  in  that  year  a  woman,  Belva  A.  Lockwood,  ran  for 
the  presidency  of  the  United  States  as  the  candidate  of 
a  regular  accredited  political  organization,  the  Equal 
Rights  Party. 

We  had  a  half-day  in  the  city  of  Washington  in  the 
early  winter  of  1885;  not  playing  there,  but  changing 
cars  on  a  jump  from  Pennsylvania  to  a  Southern  town. 
It  was  my  first  return  to  the  city  of  magnificent  distances 
since  my  term  as  page-boy  fifteen  years  before.  Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue  looked  impressively  broad  but  depressingly 
shabby,  with  its  little  four-story  houses,  five-story  hotels, 
and  dingy  shops,  all  even  smaller  than  I  had  remem- 
bered. But  the  fine  old  Capitol  stood  at  the  head  of  the 
avenue,  inspiring  in  its  grandeur  and  symmetry,  its  form 
and  color  and  satisfying  balance.  Neither  House  of 
Congress  was  in  session.  I  roamed  the  corridors  and 
rotundas,  renewing  youthful  impressions,  and  on  the 
ramble  drifted  into  the  Supreme  Court  room.  I  found 
that  I  had  insufficiently  estimated  the  impression  of  the 
General  Butler  rebuke  for  my  boyish  caricatures  of  him, 
as  I  felt  a  nervous  tingling  up  the  spine  at  sight  of  the 

old  warrior  seated  at  the  table,  his  chin  resting  on  his 
hands  and  his  eyes  closed,  while  the  solicitor-general  or 
some  representative  from  his  office  addressed  the  court. 
As  near  as  one  could  gather,  sitting  with  the  three  or 
four  spectators  listening  to  the  uninteresting  case,  the 
issue  was  a  claim  against  the  United  States  for  certain 
cotton  owned  by  a  loyal  citizen  and  destroyed  as  a  tac- 
tical necessity  by  some  Northern  general  during  the  war. 
The  solicitor  for  the  government,  indulging  in  forensic 
elaboration  and  effects,  tired  his  listeners  in  the  lobby, 
who  were  evidently  waiting  for  Benjamin  F.  Butler  to 
speak.  When  the  solicitor  finished  Butler  slowly  opened 
his  eyes,  turned  his  head  with  an  inquiring  jerk,  lifted 
his  chin  as  he  directed  his  gaze  to  the  members  of  the 
court,  rose  with  deliberation,  and  said: 

"If  it  please  the  court,  I  have  but  one  point  to  submit: 
If  the  court  overrules  me  I  have  nothing  further  to  offer; 
if  the  court  sustains  me  I  have  won  my  case." 

And  then  he  submitted  his  point,  a  very  brief  one,  too 
technical  to  make  an  impression  on  my  mind;  but  the 
thing  that  did  strike  me  was  the  old  gentleman's  running 
true  to  form — brief,  direct,  condensed,  significant. 

When  I  was  first  drawing,  my  father  who  taught  me 
to  sharpen  a  lead-pencil  with  a  penknife — and,  by  the 
way,  that  is  an  art  I  should  like  to  describe  if  space  per- 
mitted— inculcated  the  habit  of  filling  in  odd  moments, 
even  those  of  some  preoccupation  if  one's  hand  were 
free,  by  making  short  parallel  strokes  upon  any  con- 
venient piece  of  paper,  and  then  later  by  equal  and  simi- 
lar strokes  crossing  them  at  angles.  Each  new  layer  of 
pencil  marks  deepened  with  definite  degree  the  effect  of 
shadow  that  the  earlier  marks  produced.  As  we  left 
Pennsylvania  and  later  left  Washington,  and  then  moved 

south  upon  our  route  the  increase  of  the  percentage  of 
colored  population  had  very  much  the  effect  of  a  cosmic 
draftsman  recrossing  his  crayon  marks  on  his  continental 

As  we  got  deeper  into  the  black  belt  I  was  puzzled  to 
understand  the  authority  that  our  comedian  Sullivan 
had  over  the  boys  whom  he  engaged  to  help  him  handle 
baggage  and  do  other  work  behind  the  scenes.  Even 
when  the  work  was  done,  one  often  saw  him  in  control 
of  three  or  four  full-grown  negroes  who  were  dancing  in 
violent  contest,  all  the  while  watching  him  in  terror. 

He  was  playing  upon  their  superstitions  in  this  way: 
No  full-blooded  African  south  of  the  Ohio  River  is  free 
from  the  fear  of  a  rabbit's  foot.  To  wave  one  across  his 
face  with  malign  intent  is  to  put  over  him  a  black  spell 
that  only  a  strong  voodoo  practitioner  or  the  possessor 
of  the  rabbit's  foot  himself  can  remove.  In  the  theatre 
rouge  is  applied  to  an  actor's  face  by  a  hare's  foot,  upon 
the  ball  of  which  the  long  soft  fur  is  like  a  short  camel's- 
hair  brush  impossibly  broad.  There  was  such  a  hare's 
foot  in  Sullivan's  make-up  box.  Having  discovered  the 
darky's  susceptibility,  he  carried  this  thing  in  his  pocket 
as  an  object  of  authority  and  a  magic  wand;  but  ignorant 
of  the  negro  psychology  beyond  this  first  experimental 
stage,  Sullivan  was  in  the  habit  of  going  away  with  the 
company  and  leaving  those  poor  fellows  under  their  de- 
pressing delusion. 

Nothing  that  I  could  say  to  the  black  boys  when  I 
found  this  out  altered  their  obsession.  But  I  was  able 
to  devise  a  white  spell  that  they  believed  curative  and 
magically  potent. 

As  far  as  they  knew  the  power  was  entirely  in  the  caba- 
listic words  with  which  I  accompanied  the  gesture  of 


rubbing  them  slightly  under  each  eye  with  a  white  silk 
handkerchief.  But  as  the  spell  worked  and  the  tears 
ran  involuntarily  from  their  eyes,  they  never  doubted 
its  efficacy,  and  I  never  told  them  that  I  had  concealed 
in  the  silk  handkerchief  the  white  button  of  a  menthol 
pencil.  Perhaps  I  should  be  ashamed  to  confess  it,  but 
in  the  interest  of  efficiency,  as  well  as  occasional  enter- 
tainment, Sullivan  and  I  finally  came  into  a  working 
agreement  by  which  he  covered  our  local  assistants  with 
the  black  spell  during  the  time  of  their  required  services 
and  I  released  them  by  the  white  spell  before  we  went 

In  1885  every  local  community  in  the  South  had  its 
military  organization  of  whites,  trained  to  the  utmost 
efficiency  of  militia.  We  met  the  members  of  one  such 
company  in  the  jointly  incorporated  community  of  Wins- 
ton-Salem,  North  Carolina.  Salem  was  an  old  Moravian 
settlement  of  simple  dwellings,  flanked  by  its  cemetery, 
in  which  this  religious  sect,  consistently  with  its  belief 
that  death  was  a  democracy  in  which  all  were  equal, 
permits  above  the  graves  of  its  dead  only  the  little  uni- 
form cubes  of  stone.  Winston,  in  contrast,  is  the  new 
town,  with  everything  therein  apparently  erected  since 
the  Civil  War,  and  a  graveyard  in  which  the  most  os- 
tentatious are  welcome. 

Our  engagement  was  for  one  night.  The  house  was 
very  thin,  but,  as  the  favorable  notices  say,  most  ap- 
preciative. When  the  curtain  fell  two  or  three  young 
gentlemen  came  behind,  introduced  themselves,  expressed 
their  approval  of  the  plays  and  apologized  for  their 
townspeople  who  had  not  patronized  the  entertainment; 
and  then,  with  a  refreshing  ignorance  of  theatrical  ar- 
rangements, suggested  that  we  stay  another  night.  It 


obviously  never  occurred  to  them  that  theatrical  ar- 
rangements were  made  in  advance,  and  that  we  could 
not  prolong  a  visit  anywhere  simply  because  our  hosts 
were  agreeable. 

The  sequel,  however,  almost  bore  out  their  innocent 
assumption.  The  Winston  militia,  the  local  name  of 
which  I  forget,  overrode  our  excuses  and  explanations 
with  a  disarming  hospitality  that  one  doesn't  meet  north 
of  that  latitude.  We  were  to  play  the  next  night  in  the 
town  of  Salisbury.  We  couldn't  ask  the  manager  there 
to  release  us.  We  would  be  under  pecuniary  obligation 
and  liability.  All  of  this  these  young  men  quickly  ac- 
cepted, assimilated  and  transmuted  into  energy.  With 
our  consent,  they  got  hold  of  the  Salisbury  manager; 
they  arranged,  in  what  manner  I  do  not  know — they 
hadn't  had  time  to  send  our  next  morning's  notices — for 
his  consent  to  our  cutting  out  his  town,  and  they  gave 
us,  as  they  had  promised,  a  fine  house  and  a  jolly  audi- 
ence on  the  second  night.  They  also  gave  us  a  supper 
and  a  dance  in  their  armory. 

The  spirit  of  entertainment  spread  through  the  little 
town.  The  hotel  keeper,  with  a  couple  of  two-horse  rigs, 
showed  us  the  surrounding  country.  When,  in  the  glow 
of  this  give  and  take  and  quite  family  intimacy,  Mr. 
Smythe  felt  called  upon  to  speak  some  farewell  words 
of  thanks  before  the  curtain,  his  enthusiasm  outran  his 
information,  and  he  spoke  in  most  glowing  terms  of  their 
wonderful  little  hotel.  A  roar  of  mocking  laughter  an- 
swered him;  even  local  pride  knew  this  hotel  to  be  rotten; 
and  the  next  morning  the  hotel  proprietor,  who — also 
knowing  his  own  hotel — could  not  be  convinced  that 
Smythe's  compliments  had  been  sincere,  forced  an 
apology  from  him  by  threats  of  personal  violence.  We 


left,  unanimously  admitting  that  the  hotel  was  bad, 
but  that  we  thought  the  home  folk  didn't  know  it. 

My  travelling  bag  with  its  contents  was  a  standing 
joke  in  our  company.  It  weighed  about  fifteen  pounds. 
One  side  of  it  was  filled  with  a  tightly  rolled  steamer  rug 
and  a  pair  of  five-pound  iron  dumb-bells.  The  other  side 
held  the  usual  toilet  articles  for  a  night  away  from  one's 
trunk.  Although  we  had  plenty  of  exercise  on  the  stage 
in  our  rough  dances,  I  was  fearful  at  that  time  of  losing 
the  strength  I  had  acquired  in  the  railroad  yard.  In  my 
anxiety  to  avoid  that  I  packed  this  pair  of  dumb-bells, 
weighing  together  ten  pounds,  and  I  conscientiously  used 
them  every  day  in  the  bedroom.  The  steamer  rug,  which 
somebody  had  given  me,  I  continued  to  carry  because  of 
its  value  now  and  then  as  protection  to  little  Delia. 
There  used  to  be  a  blacksmith  in  St.  Louis  who  sold 
somebody's  horseshoes.  His  attractive  advertisement 

"No  frog,  no  hoof;  no  hoof,  no  horse." 

That  could  have  been  paraphrased  in  our  organization 
by  writing: 

"No  Delia,  no  'Editha's  Burglar';  no  'Editha's  Bur- 
glar,' no  show." 

Except  to  those  acquainted  with  the  country  at  that 
time,  it  will  be  a  surprise  to  learn  that  the  most  pene- 
trating cold  was  sometimes  in  the  Middle  South.  The 
people  there  had  not  yet  recovered  from  the  impoverish- 
ment of  the  Civil  War.  Many  hotels  were  poorly  heated. 
Railroad  cars  were  often  cold.  Some  junctions  at  which 
we  had  to  wait  had  only  a  frame  house,  with  no  fire  in 
the  stove.  At  such  times  we  rolled  Delia  up  in  the 
steamer  rug.  There  was  one  hotel  to  which  we  returned 
from  the  cold  theatre  in  what  the  local  people  called  a 


norther,  which  corresponds  to  a  Western  blizzard.  At 
the  late  hour  nobody  in  authority  could  be  found  about 
the  hotel.  The  two  or  three  half-frozen  negro  servants 
we  were  able  to  arouse  brought  us  a  small  armful  of  wet 
wood.  The  women  members  of  our  company  were  really 
suffering.  Miss  Page  had  a  singer's  sensitiveness  to  at- 
mospheric and  temperature  changes.  We  had  come  to 
a  pass  where  it  meant  not  Only  a  temporary  incapacity 
of  these  more  delicate  ones,  Miss  Page  and  Delia,  but  it 
might  be  a  question  of  serious  illness;  and  a  company 
stranded  a  thousand  miles  from  home. 

Assigned  to  rooms  according  to  the  apparent  impor- 
tance of  our  members,  Edgar  Smith  had  been  given  a 
room  with  an  open  fireplace.  Miss  Page  and  Delia,  wear- 
ing their  street  wraps,  got  into  the  bed  in  that  room;  Ed- 
gar and  I  sat  up  fully  dressed  and  wearing  our  caps  and 
overcoats.  But  the  blasts  of  this  norther  came  through 
the  badly  joined  windows  until  the  water  on  the  wash- 
stand  was  freezing.  The  hard  wet  wood  fetched  up  by 
the  shivering  darky  wouldn't  ignite.  Heroic  measures 
were  necessary.  We  men  took  the  pine  sides  and  backs 
from  the  drawers  of  the  washstand  and  the  bureau  and 
the  shelves  of  the  wardrobe,  broke  them  up  with  a  dumb- 
bell, and  kept  the  fire  going.  We  left  the  hotel  before 
dawn,  according  to  railroad  requirements,  after  having 
some  thin  coffee  and  corn  muffins  given  us  in  the  chill 
dining-room.  We  told  the  man  who  came  on  duty  about 
our  necessity  to  use  the  cheap  furniture  as  fuel.  We  had 
probably  caused  a  damage  of  ten  or  fifteen  dollars. 
Whether  from  indifference  or  from  belief  in  the  justifica- 
tion of  our  emergency  measures,  the  hotel  proprietor 
never  communicated  with  us  about  the  matter. 

We  had  a  wonderful  week  in  the  city  of  Charleston. 


The  owner  of  the  theatre  where  we  played  was  the  fine 
old  actor,  John  E.  Owens,  whom  I  have  already  men- 
tioned, celebrated  for  his  Solon  Shingle,  Caleb  Plummer, 
and  Doctor  Pangloss.  He  came  in  to  see  our  performance 
on  the  first  night,  and  every  night  after  that  came  in  to 
see  only  our  Burglar  sketch;  but  after  the  play  each  night 
when  we  got  home  to  the  hotel  we  found  Mr.  Owens  wait- 
ing for  us  at  a  table  reserved  by  the  chimney  corner  in 
the  bar.  About  the  middle  of  the  week  Mrs.  Owens,  who 
was  an  austere  lady — I  have  the  impression  that  she  had 
been  a  player  too — sent  for  us.  Although  she  was  some- 
where near  the  age  of  her  husband,  who  was  then  sixty- 
two,  her  hair  was  jet  black  and  combed  in  a  heavy  fold 
on  each  side,  completely  hiding  her  ears  after  the  manner 
later  popularized  by  Cleo  de  Merode.  This  grande  dame 
asked  for  Mr.  Smith,  for  some  reason  considering  him  the 
chief  offender,  and  while  Smythe  and  I  stood  by  she  told 
us  we  should  be  ashamed  of  ourselves  to  keep  an  old 
gentleman  like  Mr.  Owens  up  at  the  bar  to  the  small  hours 
every  morning. 

She  was  right.  But  what  eager  youngsters  in  their 
middle  twenties  would  have  lost  the  opportunity  to  sit 
with  this  convivial  veteran  as  he  filled  the  hours  with 
an  uninterrupted  series  of  anecdotes  and  recollections 
of  the  theatrical  experiences  so  attractive  to  their  fan- 

Toward  the  end  of  the  week,  in  one  of  these  sessions, 
he  asked  me,  "Are  you  the  Thomas  that  the  St.  Louis 
papers  said  played  old  man  Rogers  better  than  I  did?" 

I  told  him  that  I  was,  but  that  I  had  had  no  part  in 
the  controversy. 

He  answered:  "Neither  had  I,  and  I  haven't  spoken 
of  it  since,  But  now  that  I've  watched  you  play  the 


Burglar  this  week,  I  think  the  St.  Louis  papers  were  prob- 
ably right." 

The  hour  was  late,  there  had  been  some  alcohol,  but 
the  tears  sprang  to  my  eyes  as  they  would  come  now  to 
the  eyes  of  RoIIo  Peters  if  John  Singer  Sargent  were  to 
say  to  him,  "I  think  the  portrait  you  painted  is  better 
than  the  one  I  did." 

On  our  way  from  Atlanta,  which  still  bitterly  remem- 
bered Sherman,  we  passed  through  Talladega  to  the 
busy  little  city  of  Birmingham.  A  story  that  Mr.  Owens 
had  told  us  of  a  night  in  Talladega,  the  beauty  of  the 
town  as  we  saw  it,  and  especially  the  sight  of  a  razed 
gateway  to  one  old  estate,  impressed  me.  I  laid  there 
the  scenes  of  the  first  play  that  I  wrote  some  six  years 
later  for  Mr.  A.  M.  Palmer.  Also,  I  named  the  play 
"Talladega,"  but  Mr.  Palmer  thought  that  too  exclusive 
for  the  theme,  and  we  agreed  upon  the  title  "Alabama." 

New  Orleans !  Every  member  of  the  company  had 
been  looking  forward  to  the  visit  for  different  reasons. 
To  walk  around  the  old  town  after  we  had  been  there  a 
day  or  two  and  located  its  points  of  interest  was  like 
hearing  my  father  talk  about  it  as  he  had  talked  when 
he  came  back  to  St.  Louis  bringing  the  bananas  and 
mocking-birds  in  1865.  The  same  quaint  personages; 
the  same  French  market  with  its  early  coffee;  the  ex- 
cellent restaurants;  the  wide-open  gambling-houses;  the 
walled  gardens;  the  graves  built  above  the  ground  be- 
cause excavations  of  a  foot  or  two  developed  water;  the 
beautiful  women;  the  men  in  broad  hats  and  linen  suits; 
the  descendants  of  the  proud  old  aristocracy — all  were 

Our  little  company  put  up  at  Victor's  on  Bourbon 
Street.  We  ate  on  the  westerly  side  of  the  street,  where 


Victor  officiated  in  his  own  restaurant  and  brought  us 
the  stuff  hot  from  the  grill;  we  lived  in  a  Madame  Del- 
phine  garden  on  the  easterly  side,  in  rooms  each  letting 
to  a  common  gallery  reached  by  a  stairway;  each  room 
furnished  with  a  window  fitted  with  Venetian  blinds  and 
a  swinging  door  of  fixed  slats  like  the  summer  doors  of 
an  old-time  Missouri  barroom.  The  darkies  brought  us 
our  black  coffee  in  the  morning;  for  le  petit  dejeuner  at 
table  across  the  street  the  coffee  was  served  from  a  pot 
with  a  straight  ebony  handle  projecting  on  one  side  and 
an  equal  spout  from  a  right-angle  face. 

Two  blocks  away  on  Royal  Street  one  when  passing 
could  locate  the  gambling  rooms  by  the  rattle  of  the  keno 
balls  in  their  wooden  roller.  I  liked  keno.  It  took  only 
ten  minutes  to  wait  through  a  turn,  and  even  in  an  after- 
noon of  scattered  attendance  one  stood  a  chance  of  win- 
ning some  four  or  five  dollars  by  an  investment  of  ten 

In  our  New  Orleans  week  we  were  all  of  us  so  short  of 
funds  that  to  risk  even  ten  cents  seemed  dissipation. 
But  partly  for  the  reviving  passion,  partly  for  the  sake 
of  local  color,  partly  wishing  to  try  everything  once,  I 
went  from  the  theatre  one  night  into  the  crowded  keno 
room  on  Royal  Street  with  thirty  cents  as  my  limit, 
picked  what  looked  like  a  good  card,  and  on  the  second 
roll  won  eighteen  dollars.  This  was  too  much  of  a  wind- 
fall to  be  risked  at  a  game  of  chance,  so  I  cashed  in  and 
carried  my  winnings  back  to  the  company.  We  stocked 
up  on  a  number  of  needed  articles  that  eighteen  dollars 
could  provide. 

During  this  engagement  in  New  Orleans,  Charles  Froh- 
man,  then  an  advance  agent  ahead  of  some  Madison 
Square  company,  came  in  to  see  the  performance,  and 


later  arranged  for  the  production  of  "Editha's  Burglar" 
by  Eddie  Sothern  in  New  York  at  the  old  Lyceum 
Theatre  on  Fourth  Avenue.  This  chance  for  the  one- 
act  play  in  New  York  and  something  Mr.  Frohman  said 
made  me  begin  to  think  of  its  value  as  a  full  evening's 
entertainment  if  elaborated.  My  leisure  time  during  the 
rest  of  the  season  was  devoted  to  that  work,  and  before 
we  closed  I  had  written  a  four-act  drama  which  was  sub- 
sequently called  "The  Burglar/' 

Among  the  towns  on  our  way  home  was  Louisville, 
where  I  had  a  week  again  with  John  Macauley,  whose 
acquaintance  I  had  made  so  favorably  while  with  the 
Norton  company.  We  had  many  pleasant  hours  together 
and  John  was  complimentarily  anxious  to  have  me  meet 
Colonel  Henry  Watterson,  the  editor  of  the  Louisville 
Courier- Journal.  We  called  at  the  editorial  room  one 
afternoon  together,  and  were  told  that  Colonel  Watter- 
son was  at  the  Pendennis  Club.  We  followed  there.  As 
we  entered  the  large  living-room  on  the  ground  floor  a 
handsome,  black-haired,  soldierly  person,  apparently  in 
his  middle  thirties,  was  seated  at  the  piano,  his  shirt 
collar  unbuttoned  and  thrown  open  as  by  a  hero  of  ro- 
mance. He  wore  a  seersucker  coat,  the  sleeves  of  which 
were  pushed  well  up  from  his  turned  back  shirt-cuffs, 
and  he  was  absorbed  in  playing  a  medley  of  operatic  arias, 
Foster  folk-songs,  and  improvisations. 

Macauley  stopped  me  in  the  doorway.  The  condi- 
tions were  not  unknown  to  him.  It  was  Watterson's 
frequent  practice  at  that  epoch  to  repair  to  that  room 
and  that  piano  and  play  himself  out  of  some  overshadow- 
ing perplexity.  After  Macauley  had  led  me  outside  of 
the  clubhouse  he  explained  this  and  his  unwillingness  to 
intrude  upon  the  mood  and  its  expression.  It  was  not 


until  four  years  later  that  I  met  my  good  friend  Marse 
Henry.  But  that  room  in  the  Pendennis  and  that  ability 
to  improvise  were  to  witness  and  to  mark  for  me  a  very 
memorable  moment  some  years  later. 

We  reached  St.  Louis  deeper  than  ever  in  debt,  to 
players  and  printer.  Smythe  went  East  to  be  a  manager; 
Ed  Smith  went  to  New  York,  where  as  a  writer  he  was 
to  win  reputation  and  comfort;  Delia  became  a  star, 
David  a  Broadway  hit;  I  was  stranded  in  a  St.  Louis 



When  younger  men  have  asked  me  what  to  do  to  fit 
themselves  to  write  plays  I  have  advised  three  pursuits: 
The  study  of  good  modern  plays,  both  on  the  stage  and 
printed;  acting  professionally  for  a  while;  reporting  on 
a  metropolitan  newspaper.  The  first  two  occupations 
explain  their  own  relation  to  the  business  of  playmaking. 
The  reason  for  reporting  is  not  so  obvious;  but  the  re- 
porter learns  news  values,  and  the  climactic  situation 
for  a  play  would  be  almost  always  a  first-page  story  in 
a  newspaper  office.  He  also  learns  dialogue  from  his 
interviews,  and  he  learns  character-drawing  in  his  daily 

None  of  these  considerations,  however,  influenced  me 
in  the  summer  of  1885,  when  I  found  myself  out  of  a  job 
and  in  debt  and  in  St.  Louis.  I  was  looking  for  work, 
and  I  looked  for  it  amongst  the  men  I  knew.  M.  A.  Fan- 
ning, a  running  mate  of  William  Marion  Reedy,  and 
later  secretary  and  adviser  of  fighting  Tom  Johnson  of 
Cleveland,  was  for  a  few  weeks  in  that  summer  acting 
as  city  editor  of  the  St.  Louis  Post-Dispatch.  Mike  and 
I  were  theatre-lobby  and  summer-garden  acquaintances. 
He  thought  I  could  write;  he  knew  I  could  draw  a  little. 

His  word  to  Henry  Moore,  the  managing  editor  of  the 
paper,  got  me  a  job  at  twenty-five  dollars  a  week,  which 
was  five  better  than  I  could  have  done  by  going  back  to 

Pope's  box-office.     I  took  it  as  a  stop-gap  and  went  to 


1 92 

work  hoping  from  day  to  day  that  "The  Burglar,"  a  four- 
act  play  I  had  written,  would  find  a  producer.  I  had  a 
second  play  on  the  stocks  which  I  called  "Pittsburgh," 
dealing  with  the  big  Pennsylvania  strike.  It  contained 
the  Philadelphia  Grays,  a  burning  roundhouse,  a  cannon 
fired  on  the  stage,  a  fire-engine  and  four  horses,  a  burn- 
ing tank  car  of  oil,  a  runaway  hansom  cab,  the  interior 
of  a  rolling  mill  with  a  red-hot  steel  rail  made  in  full  view, 
an  attic,  an  abduction,  a  bank  robbery,  a  fight  with  bowie 
knives,  a  picnic  by  a  flowing  stream,  a  strike  of  mill 
hands,  a  man  on  horseback  with  rattling  chains  like  the 
fellow  in  the  "Barnaby  Rudge"  Gordon  riots,  a  rusty, 
ruined  mill-wheel  that  turned  over  and  drowned  an  es- 
caping villain,  plenty  of  sentiment,  political  economy 
and  several  light-comedy  touches.  I  still  have  it;  and 
some  day,  when  the  Hippodrome  becomes  a  dramatic 
house  and  the  United  Steel  Trust  goes  into  the  theatrical 
business,  I  mean  to  produce  it.  Charles  Pope  seriously 
considered  it  that  summer. 

Years  later  Joseph  Brooks,  after  some  interest  in  "  Ben 
Hur,"  also  read  it,  and  said:  "  I'd  like  to  do  it,  but,  thank 
God,  I  can't!" 

But  in  the  summer  of  1885  my  hopes  were  pinned  to 
"The  Burglar."  Will  Smythe  had  a  copy  of  "The  Bur- 
glar" with  him  in  New  York  trying  to  place  it,  and  E. 
H.  So  them,  who  had  another  copy,  wrote  that  he  would 
be  in  St.  Louis  soon  and  discuss  it  with  me.  The  job  on 
the  Post-Dispatch  therefore  seemed  the  most  temporary 
assignment  imaginable.  But  even  at  that  there  were 
daily  duties,  and  there  were  editors. 

I  was  not  a  stranger  in  newspaper  offices.  As  an  ama- 
teur actor  looking  for  show  publicity,  as  a  man  from  the 
box-office  going  with  visiting  advance  men  to  the  editors 


for  two  years,  and  also  in  the  theatrical  travel  earlier  de- 
scribed, I  had  become  familiar  with  the  local  rooms.  It 
was  another  matter,  however,  to  report  in  the  early  morn- 
ing as  one  of  the  force. 

My  first  duty  on  my  first  day — and  for  that  matter 
my  first  duty  every  day  for  many  weeks — was  to  con- 
dense items  from  the  morning  papers  to  paragraphs  of 
proper  relation  for  our  afternoon  issue.  At  that  time  in 
St.  Louis  the  newspaper  practice  was  to  cover  by  refer- 
ence or  by  full  report  everything  that  happened  in  the 
city,  from  a  drunk  and  disorderly  to  a  burning  barn  in 
the  suburbs.  There  was  not  the  selective  system  now 
followed  in  metropolitan  journalism,  and  there  was  no 
central  news  agency  or  flimsy.  Each  paper  was  expected 
to  get  its  own  information,  and  if  possible  to  get  it  ex- 
clusively. The  scoop,  as  a  beat  was  then  called,  was 
evidence  of  a  journal's  efficiency  and  enterprise. 

As  the  cub  reporter  in  service,  not  in  youth,  I  drew 
the  simplest  and  most  tail-end  assignments.  My  first 
morning,  after  condensations  were  over,  was  devoted  to 
a  chicken  show;  not  such  a  chicken  show  as  would  now 
fill  Madison  Square  Garden,  but  a  very  unpretentious 
collection  of  coops  and  cages  put  into  a  twenty-five-foot 
vacant  store.  There  were  perhaps  two  hundred  and  fifty 
birds  in  this  collection,  ranging  through  the  various 
breeds  from  Bantams  to  Cochin  Chinas,  and  through 
the  various  specimens  from  new-hatched  chickens  to 
roosters  with  criminal  records. 

On  this  first  day  of  the  poultry  show  no  awards  had 
yet  been  made.  As  far  as  I  could  see,  there  was  nothing 
to  write  about  but  just  chickens  and  farmers  with  gosh- 
ding-it  whiskers.  Quite  disgusted  with  the  assignment, 
and  seriously  revolving  in  my  mind  an  impulse  to  quit 


the  business,  and  feeling  strange  at  any  kind  of  writing 
except  dialogue,  I  hit  upon  what  I  thought  was  the  out- 
rageous notion  of  interviewing  a  young  cockerel  from 
Belleville,  and  letting  him  talk  of  the  exhibition.  I 
turned  in  several  pages  of  this  kind  of  copy  with  a  feel- 
ing of  defiance.  My  astonishment  can  be  imagined  when 
I  found  that  the  report  was  considered  a  hit.  The  acting 
city  editor  read  it  aloud  to  men  at  the  near-by  desks, 
who  laughed  at  it  in  chorus  and  regarded  me  esti- 

I  was  conducted  into  the  art  department  and  intro- 
duced to  a  German  draftsman  by  the  name  of  Steitz, 
who  was  instructed  to  make  illustrations  for  the  chicken 
interview  under  my  direction.  Irvin  Cobb  just  back 
from  Flanders  with  a  portfolio  of  special  stuff  probably 
didn't  make  any  relatively  greater  sensation  than  this 
first  article  of  mine  turned  in  at  the  Post-Dispatch;  and 
to  my  mind  there  was  a  distinction  about  the  issue  of 
the  paper  that  afternoon  that  I  had  never  seen  before. 
I  carried  extra  copies  home  to  my  family.  I  reread  the 
article  with  detached  astonishment.  The  only  reaction 
I  didn't  include  was  a  lecture  tour. 

There  is  an  introductory  line  in  a  book  called  "The 
New  Hyperion,"  written  in  the  early  'yo's  by  a  Phila- 
delphia newspaper  man,  I  think  named  Strahan.  It  was 
his  second  book,  and  it  began  with  this  phrase  that  has 
stuck  in  my  memory:  "The  man  who  hits  one  success 
by  accident  is  always  trying  to  hit  another  by  prepara- 
tion." That  fully  expresses  my  condition  thereafter.  I 
wanted  with  careful  intent  to  repeat  a  performance  which 
was  the  outcome  of  a  rebellious  explosion.  Other  as- 
signments on  subsequent  days,  however,  did  not  lend 
themselves  to  dramatic  dialogue,  and  from  a  candidate 


for  the  magazines  I  dropped  suddenly  back  into  the  rou- 
tine of  hotels,  real  estate,  justices  of  the  peace,  a  school 
board  on  its  vacation,  architecture,  and  weekly  art 

It  was  a  depressing  experience  to  have  the  paper  come 
out  day  after  day  with  only  one's  condensations  of  the 
unimportant  morning  articles;  depressing  to  see  the  other 
fellows  with  fatter  departments  grab  the  first  copies  that 
the  office  boy  distributed  as  they  left  the  roaring  presses, 
and  scan  their  stuff  ostensibly  for  errors  but  really  for  that 
authority  which  formal  type  seems  to  lend  to  gelatinous 
contributions,  giving  a  satisfaction  not  unlike  the  sculp- 
tor's joy  as  the  disappearing  piece-mould  reveals  his  per- 
manent bronze. 

The  first  important  assignment  alone  grew  out  of  a 
morning  paragraph  relating  an  inquiry  at  police  head- 
quarters concerning  a  young  girl  who  had  been  absent 
from  her  mother's  home  for  forty-eight  hours.  Was  it 
to  be  rewritten  or  to  be  reprinted  as  it  was,  a  simple 
emanation  from  police  headquarters?  It  was  impossible 
to  condense  it.  City  Editor  Magner  said: 

"Colonel  Thomas,  the  reason  that  item  is  so  brief  is 
that  it  came  into  that  morning  newspaper  office  too  late 
to  be  expanded  or  inquired  into.  It  is  now  your  pleasant 
duty  to  discover  that  young  lady  and  her  family  and 
write  an  extended  report  of  the  case." 

I  went  immediately  to  the  girl's  home,  a  rear  apart- 
ment well  out  on  Cass  Avenue,  one  of  the  poorer  quar- 
ters of  the  city,  where  I  found  the  anxious  mother,  her 
eyes  red  from  weeping,  confined  to  the  little  apartment 
by  her  domestic  duties.  She  confirmed  the  item,  an- 
swered my  questions,  gave  me  a  photograph  of  the  girl. 
Beyond  this  there  was  nothing  upon  which  to  proceed. 


The  girl's  intimate  friends  were  near  at  hand  and  had 
all  been  seen.  There  was  no  young  man  in  the  case,  so 
far  as  mother  or  friends  knew.  There  was  at  home  no 
particular  disappointment  further  than  the  daily  grind 
of  poverty. 

I  started  walking  down  Cass  Avenue  in  the  direction  of 
the  nearest  police  station,  which  was  to  be  my  next  call. 
It  was  about  ten  o'clock  of  a  summer  morning.  A  dingy 
street-car  with  two  lazy  horses  jingled  past  me,  going  in 
the  same  direction,  the  conductor  lolling  on  the  back 
rail.  Seated  in  the  car  were  two  laughing  girls,  the  only 
passengers.  As  I  caught  their  expression  I  smiled  in  the 
involuntary  human  response  that  is  perhaps  still  a  trick 
with  youngish  people.  Then  something  familiar  in  the 
face  of  one  of  the  girls  fixed  my  attention  and  hooked  up 
with  the  photograph  I  had  in  my  pocket. 

I  ran  after  the  car  and  boarded  it.  The  girls  grew 
serious  with  resentment  of  this  procedure,  which  seemed 
more  than  they  had  invited.  I  addressed  the  one  in  par- 
ticular: "Is  your  name  Mamie  Kelly?"  and  saw  at  once 
by  the  expression  of  both  girls  that  I  had  found  the  mis- 
sing daughter.  I  sat  down,  told  Mamie  of  her  mother's 
unhappiness,  of  the  police  hunt  for  her,  the  item  in  the 
morning  paper.  The  girl  was  contrite  for  her  truancy 
and  immediately  ready  to  go  home. 

The  car  was  stopped,  we  took  one  in  the  opposite  di- 
rection, and  a  few  minutes  later  I  turned  Mamie  Kelly 
over  to  her  mother,  who  wrung  my  hand  and  patted  my 
shoulders  with  the  inarticulate  gratitude  of  a  rescued 
animal.  I  stayed  long  enough  to  get  the  girl's  story, 
which  was  one  of  a  simple  temporary  revolt  against  the 
hard  conditions  of  a  monotonous  life.  I  returned  to  the 
office,  a  fortunate  full-fledged  detective  journalist,  to 


make  my  report.  There  were  only  two  or  three  of  the 
ten  or  twelve  local  men  still  in  the  rooms. 

"Well?"  said  Magner. 

"I  found  her." 

He  called  into  the  next  room,  "Hey,  Moore,  Thomas 
has  found  that  Kelly  girl !"  The  managing  editor  joined 

"Where  did  you  find  her?" 

"On  a  Cass  Avenue  street-car." 

"Where  is  she  now?" 

"At  home." 

"How  did  she  get  there?" 

"I  took  her  there." 

With  a  look  of  disgust,  Magner  turned  back  to  his 

Moore  went  into  his  room. 

"What  shall  I  write  about  it?"  I  asked. 

Magner  said:  "Not  a  damn  thing!  But  who  ever 
told  you  that  you  belonged  in  the  newspaper  busi- 

Out  on  the  deserted  route  between  the  justices  of  the 
peace  I  met  Bicycle  Hicks,  one  of  our  reporters,  who  had 
rather  taken  me  under  his  wing  in  the  office.  Bicycle 
Hicks  was  so  called  because  he  was  one  of  the  few  men 
in  the  city  and  the  only  one  on  a  newspaper  who  pos- 
sessed a  bicycle,  which  at  that  time  was  a  machine  with 
a  front  wheel  sixty  inches  in  diameter  and  a  Hogarthian 
spine  that  ran  from  the  saddle  above  the  big  wheel  to 
a  little  trailer  wheel  behind,  perhaps  a  foot  high.  His 
department  was  churches  and  the  sterilized  edges  of 
athletics.  Among  my  male  acquaintances  he  was  the 
original  woman  suffragist,  prohibitionist,  and  anti-cigar- 
ette advocate;  a  staring,  ingenuous  enthusiast.  When 


I  last  heard  from  him  he  was  editing  the  Army  and  Navy 

At  the  street  meeting  I  speak  of  I  asked  Bicycle  Hicks 
what  had  been  wrong  with  my  report;  what  it  was  that 
the  newspaper  had  expected  me  to  do  with  that  lost  girl. 
He  said  he  didn't  know,  but  thought  it  was  something 
extraordinary  that  would  have  furnished  the  paper  with 
exclusive  and  worth-while  news.  He  then  told  me,  as 
an  indicative  incident,  of  a  reporter  who  had  been  highly 
commended  for  having  carried  the  body  of  a  dead  man 
which  he  found  on  a  deserted  street  into  a  near-by  empty 
building,  so  that  after  writing  understandingly  concerning 
the  inquiry  which  the  disappearance  of  this  man  occa- 
sioned he  was  able  as  a  representative  of  his  paper  wisely 
to  reason  out  and  discover  the  hiding-place  of  the  body, 
and  to  clear  up  the  mystery  which  he  had  created. 

Hicks  told  me  also  of  another  enterprising  reporter, 
who  had  obtained  indirectly  the  stolen  rninute-books  of 
a  St.  Louis  grand  jury  that  was  investigating  some  polit- 
ical bribery  cases  and  had  then  carried  these  books  to 
a  near-by  town  in  the  State  of  Illinois  outside  the  juris- 
diction of  the  court  to  which  they  appertained,  and  from 
this  safe  retreat  had  sent  in  daily  installments  transcribed 
from  their  records,  to  the  great  embarrassment  of  the 
machinery  of  justice,  but  to  the  renown  of  the  paper  to 
which  the  reporter  was  attached. 

Thomas  Jefferson,  writing  from  Paris  to  Mr.  Edward 
Carrington  in  1787,  said:  "Were  it  left  to  me  to  decide 
whether  we  should  have  a  government  without  news- 
papers, or  newspapers  without  a  government,  I  should 
not  hesitate  a  moment  to  prefer  the  latter." 

It  seemed  to  me  that  to  take  the  stolen  records  of  a 
grand  jury  and  print  them  defiantly  was  a  practice  which 


if  persisted  in  would  soon  reduce  a  country  to  the  alter- 
native that  Mr.  Jefferson  had  preferred.  I  felt  also  that 
the  desirability  to  have  something  to  print  scarcely  justi- 
fied its  manufacture  at  this  excessive  cost  to  the  subjects; 
but  as  I  went  on  in  the  business  observation  convinced 
me  that  newspaper  men  who  go  to  unethical  extremes 
in  the  manufacture  of  news  are  in  a  very  decided 
minority,  and  that  many  of  the  enterprises  which  they 
inaugurate  in  order  to  have  something  to  print  make 
the  newspapers  not  only  organs  of  publicity  but  fre- 
quently great  constructive  factors. 

One  rule  on  that  early  Pulitzer  paper,  the  parent  of 
the  present  New  York  World,  was  that  nothing  was  to 
be  printed  reflecting  or  commenting  upon  any  man's 
nationality  or  religion,  whether  for  comic  purposes  or 
otherwise.  It  would  be  difficult  successfully  to  deny 
the  wisdom  of  this  requirement  or  the  justice  of  it. 

One  day  a  despondent  German  in  the  northern  district 
of  the  city,  self-persuaded  that  the  future  life  held 
nothing  hotter  for  him  than  that  St.  Louis  August,  killed 
his  wife  and  four  children  and  then  shot  himself.  The 
scene  was  three  miles  away,  and  the  hour  was  nearly 
three  in  the  afternoon.  In  the  rickety  hack  that  billowed 
us  over  that  distance  of  rutted  macadam  dust  and  oblique 
hurdles  of  street-car  tracks,  Johnny  Jennings,  the  senior 
of  our  group,  assigned  to  each  man  his  proper  depart- 
ment, such  as  cause  of  the  crime,  description  of  scene, 
neighbors  and  comment,  police  and  coroner.  I  drew 
neighbors  and  comment.  Each  reporter,  as  he  got  his 
information,  hunted  a  near-by  telephone  and  talked  his 
stuff"  to  a  relay  man  in  the  office.  It  was  exciting  at  the 
time,  but  my  collaborator  on  the  office  end  was  a  matter- 
of-fact  person  with  a  passion  for  extracts.  And  when 


I  read  the  finished  and  assembled  and  printed  product 
an  hour  later  the  whole  tragedy,  as  far  as  I  was  con- 
cerned, was  a  disappointment  and  a  waste  of  material. 

That  incident  relates  immediately  to  the  lesson  one 
learns  early  on  a  newspaper — that  all  material  must 
adapt  itself  to  the  hourly  changes  in  the  paper's  require- 
ments. Oscar  Wilde,  being  asked  slightly  to  shorten 
"Lady  Windermere's  Fan,"  sighed  as  he  took  his  blue 
crayon  to  comply,  "Who  am  I  to  trifle  with  a  classic?'* 
But  for  the  newspaper,  classic,  epic,  and  chef-d'oeuvre 
watch  their  step,  move  up  in  front  or  change  cars  at  com- 
mand of  city  editor  and  make-up  man. 

One  other  thing  I  learned  was  that  material  good  else- 
where might  never  be  of  value  on  the  paper.  In  addi- 
tion to  the  daily  work  expected  of  each  man  certain  of  us 
were  supposed  to  turn  in  what  was  called  a  special  for 
the  weekly  edition,  an  elaborated  and  extended  write- 
up  of  some  department,  or  now  and  then  a  more  frank 
attempt  at  fiction.  One  such  contribution  of  mine  was 
a  little  dramatic  sketch  called  "A  Man  of  the  World." 
Magner  laughed  at  the  form,  and  the  sketch  did  not  ap- 
pear in  the  paper.  Months  afterward,  when  George 
Johns,  during  Magner's  vacation,  was  again  acting  city 
editor,  he  dug  this  sketch  from  a  drawer  of  dusty  dis- 
cards and  returned  it  to  me,  saying  he  thought  it  too  good 
to  be  lost. 

In  1890  Mr.  A.  M.  Palmer,  at  the  Madison  Square 
Theatre,  produced  a  short  comedy  called  "Aunt  Jack," 
in  which  the  principal  members  of  his  company,  includ- 
ing Agnes  Booth  and  James  H.  Stoddart,  were  appear- 
ing. Maurice  Barrymore,  on  the  salary  list,  was,  how- 
ever, out  of  this  bill.  After  two  or  three  curtain-raisers 
had  been  submitted  to  him  and  found  unsatisfactory,  he 


carried  this  sketch  to  Mr.  Palmer,  and  it  was  put  on 
ahead  of  "Aunt  Jack."  I  received  a  royalty  of  fifty  dol- 
lars a  week  for  it  the  rest  of  that  season,  and  when  "Aunt 
Jack"  went  on  the  road  the  following  year  Mr.  Joe  Ha- 
worth  played  Mr.  Barrymore's  part  in  my  curtain-raiser. 
Mr.  Barrymore  also  played  it  in  vaudeville,  where  suc- 
cessively his  sons,  Lionel  and  Jack,  each  made  his  first 
appearance  in  the  theatre  in  one  of  its  minor  parts.  I 
should  roughly  estimate  my  receipts  from  it  at  three 
thousand  dollars.  Of  course  the  adaptability  of  the  ma- 
terials to  their  respective  demands  must  be  taken  into 
consideration,  but  the  incident  is  an  example  of  the  dis- 
parity between  the  early  pecuniary  rewards  in  the  two 

If  forced  to  choose,  however,  between  the  royalties  for 
"A  Man  of  the  World  "  and  the  things  I  learned  as  a 
reporter  I'd  promptly  take  the  training.  To  write  of 
the  events  of  interest  in  that  training  would  fill  a  book. 
This  article  may  not  even  identify  them.  An  obligation 
exists,  however,  to  tell  clearly  such  experiences  as  put 
permanent  dents  into  my  articulating  mentality.  These 
experiences  fall  broadly  into  two  departments:  The 
technic  of  the  game  and  the  incidents  it  dealt  with — the 
first  central,  the  second  environmental.  I  don't  think 
the  Post-Dispatch  made  that  ostentatious  claim  to  good 
English  that  the  Sun  under  Charles  Dana  was  supposed 
to  make,  but  its  editors  were  educated  and  exacting  men. 
A  reporter  soon  quit  writing  "those  kind,"  and  his  ob- 
jective cases  gradually  made  fewer  and  less  ambitious 
tries  at  the  active;  but  I  don't  remember  so  much  fuss 
over  split  infinitives  as  some  nouveaux  purists  make. 
Maybe  our  editors  had  somewhat  of  that  deeper  culture 
which  made  the  late  Thomas  R.  Lounsbury  of  Yale  and 


the  American  Academy  defend  the  divided  infinitive  not 
only  as  scholarly  and  time  honored,  but  as  often  the  more 
expressive  form. 

We  reporters  also  learned  a  concentration  of  attention 
which  gradually  calmed  down  from  frenzied  resistance  to 
a  self-respecting  exclusion.  The  typewriters  that  make 
such  a  bedlam  of  modern  offices  were  not  then  installed. 
But  as  the  hour  approached  the  make-up  the  rush  in 
the  office  was  the  same  as  the  modern  rush:  boys  calling 
for  copy;  men  from  the  current  sensations  arriving  with 
their  verbal  condensations  to  the  city  editor;  shouted 
consultations;  and  perhaps  another  element  in  that 
smaller  city  that  may  not  be  present  now — the  invasion 
of  the  room  by  men  who  might  be  affected  by  the  news 
calling  to  secure  its  modification  or  suppression;  these 
and  the  dozen  other  confusions  all  were  there,  surging 
around  the  reporter  who  was  to  have  them  accelerate 
rather  than  retard  his  part  of  some  report  that  he  was 
scratching  on  the  cheap  print  paper.  More  than  once 
since  then  at  a  dress  rehearsal  and  its  attendant  hubbub 
I  have  been  thankful  for  such  of  that  control  as  was  then 
acquired,  which  has  helped  me  to  sit  at  a  music-stand 
in  the  orchestra  pit  and  patch  up  some  limping  scene. 

Let  me  tell  of  certain  influencing  contemporaries  on 
the  Post-Dispatch.  Although  it  is  preferable  to  deduce 
character  from  revealing  incidents,  just  as  it  is  amusing 
to  infer  the  outline  of  the  lady  on  the  barn  door  from  the 
scars  made  by  the  knife-thrower,  some  facts  concerning 
our  regular  city  editor,  John  Magner,  cannot  possibly 
be  inferred  and  should  therefore  be  told,  because  a  city 
editor  more  than  any  other  man  on  a  paper  determines 
the  relation  of  a  new  reporter  to  his  business. 

Some  congenital  or  youthful  calamity  had  seriously 


crippled  one  side  of  him,  arm  and  leg.  This  affliction, 
as  is  not  infrequently  the  case,  had  produced  a  compen- 
sating, and  therefore  gratifying  accompaniment  of  in- 
creased intellectual  acuteness,  a  mental  scalpel  and  bis- 
toury attack  of  every  problem,  and  carrying  a  touch  of 
acid.  But  the  dissecting  and  cauterizing  qualities  were 
salved  by  a  never-failing  emollitive  humor. 

I  can  see  Magner  now  sitting  at  his  desk  in  that  second- 
story  room,  from  which  three  windows  looked  on  Market 
Street  and  across  to  the  facade  of  the  Grand  Opera 
House,  turning  in  his  swivel  chair  for  some  pointed  in- 
struction or  corrosive  inquiry,  his  blue  pencil  in  the  left 
hand,  by  which  he  had  to  operate  it,  and  his  swift  gesture 
as  with  the  same  hand  he  agitated  a  reddish  pompadour 
that  looked  like  a  brush  of  rusty  iron. 

The  desk  that  I  used  for  a  year  or  more  was  imme- 
diately behind  this  swivel  chair,  and  faced  the  middle 
window — for  neither  reason  a  coveted  location.  To 
Magner's  left  on  the  right-angled  wall  was  Mike  Lane, 
our  sporting  reporter.  Lane  was  an  able  person  not  in- 
sensible to  approval  and  with  a  great  respect  for  Mag- 
ner's  opinions.  I  recall  a  colloquy  which  gives  a  touch 
of  both  men.  Lane  had  just  put  a  bunch  of  copy  on  Mag- 
ner's desk. 

He  said:  "There's  that  stuff,  John.  I  don't  think 
much  of  it  myself,  and  I  don't  believe  that  I  am  writing 
as  well  as  I  did  two  years  ago." 

Magner  made  an  unnecessary  display  of  the  excisions 
that  he  immediately  began  as  he  loudly  answered:  "Oh, 
yes,  Mike,  you  do !  You  write  just  as  well  as  you  ever 
did.  But  your  taste  is  improving,"  and  then  the  blue 
pencil  slashed  out  another  half-page  before  he  quickly 
swung  to  me. 


I  was  bending  over  my  own  work,  naturally  amused, 
but  I  had  not  laughed  aloud.  His  attention  had  been 
prompted  solely  by  accurate  suspicion,  and  here  is  his 
speech  to  me — I  give  it  because  it  contains  an  expression 
which  has  multiplied  more  prolifically  than  the  Biblical 
grain  of  mustard-seed: 

"Colonel  Thomas" — Magner  always  conferred  a  mili- 
tary title  on  a  prospective  target — "Colonel  Thomas, 
you  have  a  very  sensitive  dial.  Sometimes  you  smile, 
sometimes  you  lift  your  eyebrows,  sometimes  you  only 
shift  your  wrinkles.  But  you  always  register." 

The  chorus  in  that  quadrangle  of  desks  gave  him  the 
response  he  had  played  for.  But  his  dial  illustration  im- 
pressed me,  and  the  word  "register"  was  indelible. 

In  1891  at  the  rehearsals  of  "Alabama"  at  the  Madi- 
son Square  Theatre,  and  with  Magner  vaguely  in  mind, 
I  found  myself  using  "register"  to  the  members  of  Mr. 
Palmer's  company,  whom  Mr.  Eugene  Prestrey,  the  stage 
manager,  was  rehearsing,  with  occasional  conferences 
with  me.  Presbrey  consciously  or  unconsciously  adopted 
and  worked  the  word  until  it  became  a  matter  of  play- 
ful comment  with  the  people  he  rehearsed  then  and  after- 
ward. It  was  repeated  by  him  and  others  more  and  more 
frequently  through  the  years,  until  now  that  it  has  en- 
tirely saturated  the  nomenclature  of  the  movies  both 
seriously  and  in  burlesque  I  am  wondering  if  its  inundat- 
ing start  was  not  back  at  that  rivulet  from  the  corner  desk 
in  the  old  Post-Dispatch  rooms  on  Market  Street 

Except  for  the  anodyne  of  intervening  years  it  would 
be  depressing  to  go  on  recording  one's  repeated  failures 
to  measure  up  to  editorial  expectations.  But  at  the  ex- 
pense of  my  vanity  I  must  tell  of  my  first  political  con- 
vention and  therein  of  two  ineptitudes,  or,  in  modern 


parlance,  of  two  bones  that  I  pulled.  This  nominating 
convention  was  held  in  Jefferson  City.  I  attended  as 
one  of  the  Post-Dispatch  corps  of  reporters,  some  three 
or  four  altogether.  The  permanent  chairman  of  the  con- 
vention, a  clean-shaven  man  named  James  Hagerman, 
was  elected  about  noon  of  the  opening  day.  His  resem- 
blance to  an  amateur  theatrical  friend  of  mine  in  St. 
Louis  was  so  striking  that  a  person  knowing  both  might 
address  either  as  the  other  one.  I  persuaded  Jennings 
of  this  fact  and  got  him  to  wire  Magner  at  the  St.  Louis 
office  to  get  a  photograph  of  Dan  Bordley,  of  a  well- 
known  wholesale  tobacco  company  on  Vine  Street,  and 
print  it  as  a  portrait  of  Hagerman.  This  was  enterpris- 
ing, and  should  have  been  scored  to  my  credit;  but  when 
the  newspaper  of  that  afternoon  reached  Jefferson  City, 
and  circulated  in  the  convention  next  morning  with  its 
alleged  portrait  of  Hagerman,  it  was  ridiculous,  because 
Bordley,  not  understanding  the  requirement,  had  fur- 
nished the  paper  with  a  character  portrait  of  himself 
wearing  a  huge  mustache.  It  was  hopeless  to  try  to  point 
out  the  resemblance  in  the  uncovered  features  of  the 

This  said  convention  was  meeting  in  the  Represen- 
tatives' Hall,  where  I  had  been  a  page.  In  the  big  room 
nothing  seemed  to  have  been  changed;  the  colossal  por- 
traits flanking  the  speaker's  dai's  were  there;  the  run 
at  the  back  way  to  the  document  room;  the  large,  re- 
sounding cuspidors  under  the  individual  desks.  I  felt 
disarmingly  at  home.  The  nominations  had  progressed 
to  a  vote  upon  the  candidate  for  attorney-general.  Our 
choice  was  a  bon  vivant  by  the  name  of  Nat  Dryden, 
whose  free-handed  fellowship  had  made  him  a  favorite 
in  nearly  every  newspaper  office  in  the  State.  Represen- 

tatives  of  these  newspapers  sat  about  the  tables,  where 
we  were  some  thirty  in  number.  Our  private  tally  of 
the  roll  call  in  strokes  of  five  like  little  garden  gates  told 
us  the  ballot  before  the  clerk  was  ready  officially  to  an- 
nounce it.  It  was  undecisive.  The  newspaper  men  were 
anxious  for  the  outcome. 

In  the  interim  occasioned  by  the  count  I  was  conscious 
of  no  impropriety  in  getting  up  and  saying  to  the  con- 
vention that  they  would  be  called  upon  to  vote  again  in 
a  few  minutes,  and  that  the  entire  press  of  the  State  was 
in  favor  of  Nat  Dry  den.  As  the  entire  press  of  the  State 
had  been  somewhat  critical  of  all  of  these  small  politicians 
now  convened,  my  statement  was  not  helpful,  nor  was  it 
in  order,  as  the  pounding  gavel  of  the  smooth-faced  Mr. 
Hagerman  informed  me. 

This  oratorical  ebullition,  coupled  with  the  substituted 
picture,  decided  the  man  in  control  of  our  staff.  When 
the  next  bundle  of  longhand  copy  went  east  to  St.  Louis 
I  carried  it,  and  resumed  my  patrol  among  the  real-estate 
offices,  the  school  board,  the  empty  studios,  and  tired 
hopes  of  a  call  from  the  New  York  play  market. 


In  all  these  times  and  amidst  these  duties  I  never  quite 
lost  sight  of  the  theatrical  objective.     Any  mail  might 
bring  word  of  the  sale  of  "The  Burglar"  in  New  York. 
Any  week  might  bring  Eddie  Sothern  and  his  company 
to  St.  Louis,  where  there  would  be  a  possible  consulta- 
tion about  it;    and  always  just  across  the  street  were 
the   inviting   doors   of    the   Grand  Opera   House,    with 
George  McManus  in  its  box-office  and  John  Norton  on 
its  stage.    How  cool  its  classic  shade !    How  respectable 
and  dignified  its  purpose ! 

One  week  Mary  Anderson  came  there  after  her  trium- 
phant visit  to  England.  She  brought  with  her  a  company 
of  Englishmen  headed  by  the  present  Sir  J.  Forbes-Rob- 
ertson. Mary's  earliest  triumphs  had  been  in  St.  Louis, 
and  her  first  supporting  company  had  been  that  of 
Johnny  Norton,  though  before  my  time  as  his  leading 
juvenile.  There  were  still  thousands  of  people  in  the 
city  who  were  her  admirers,  and  hundreds  who  were  her 
personal  friends.  The  paper  decided  to  make  a  spread 
on  her  opening  performance.  I  was  detailed  to  get  be- 
hind the  curtain  and  report  the  first  night  from  that 

As  the  order  came  late,  the  best  way  was  to  go  to  the 
super  captain,  pay  the  fee  already  agreed  upon  to  a  super 
who  would  let  me  take  his  place,  and  also  pass  a  small 
tip  to  the  captain  himself.  At  the  proper  time  I  found 


myself  in  a  hauberk,  a  pair  of  dirty  woollen  tights,  and 
otherwise  arrayed  as  one  of  the  retainers  in  "The  Win- 
ter's Tale." 

Miss  Anderson's  stage-manager  was  an  Englishman 
named  Montgomery,  to  whom  I  had  often  given  his  letters 
at  Pope's  box-office,  and  who  I  feared  would  recognize 
me;  but  he  did  not.  I  was  herded  with  his  fifty-cent 
roughnecks,  some  of  them  making  their  first  appear- 
ance; and  once  when  told  to  stand  "dowser,"  and  I 
had  not  moved  fast  enough  to  suit  Mr.  Montgomery  he 
had  given  me  an  admonitory  touch  with  his  toe  on  the 
fuller  side  of  my  trunks. 

This  was  a  good  deal  of  an  indignity  for  the  represen- 
tative of  a  great  daily  paper,  parent  of  the  New  York 
World,  said  representative  an  American  leading  man  and 
ex-star  in  disguise,  and  author  of  two  unproduced  dramas 
—a  great  indignity  to  take  from  a  visiting  Englishman, 
forty  years  of  age  and  out  of  condition;  but  remember- 
ing what  was  expected  of  me  in  the  newspaper  office  and 
the  dying  Nelson's  statement  of  England's  general  ex- 
pectation from  every  man,  I  stood  "dowser,"  and  got 
ready  for  the  second  act. 

Just  then  General  William  Tecumseh  Sherman,  who 
was  an  old  friend  of  the  tragedienne,  came  from  the  side 
door  toward  Mary's  dressing-room  with  both  hands  out- 
stretched. The  star  met  him  on  the  stage  and  took  his 
hands,  and  the  general  kissed  her  in  good  round  fashion. 
This  kind  of  greeting  was  not  new  to  General  Sherman, 
who  was  then  arriving  at  that  privileged  epoch  in  which 
the  French  describe  a  man  as  gaga.  Montgomery,  in 
the  centre  of  the  stage,  with  us  super  men  lined  up  and 
waiting,  whispered  to  little  Napier  Lothian  of  Boston, 
travelling  with  the  company  in  some  advisory  capacity, 


"Who  is  the  old  gentleman  in  uniform  who  just  kissed 
the  star?" 

Lothian  answered  in  a  whisper,  "General  Sherman." 


"No!    Sherman — great  general." 

"Ow!"  Montgomery  looked  critically  at  Sherman, 
turned  back  to  Lothian  and  asked,  "As  great  a  general 
as  Wolseley?" 

"Wolseley!"  said  Lothian  with  disdain.  "Why, 
Wolseley  isn't  a  patch  on  this  fellow's  trousers!" 

"Now  down't  you  say  that,  my  boy!  Down't — you 
— say — that!"  And  Montgomery  extended  his  hand  in 
a  gesture  of  caution  which  meant,  "Go  no  further." 

This  incident  was  the  tenderloin  of  my  written  ac- 
count next  day,  and  was  especially  acceptable  to  Mag- 
ner.  Frequently  after  that,  during  my  stay  on  the  paper, 
when  we  had  a  new  spectator  or  auditor  in  the  room  Mag- 
ner  would  demand  a  verbal  report  of  this  colloquy,  and 
insist  upon  a  dramatical  imitation  of  both  men.  Magner 
was  as  anti-British  as  Judge  Dan  Cohalan. 

During  the  dull  spells  in  local  news  the  paper  increased 
the  number  of  its  illustrations.  This  was  partly  because 
it  would  occupy  some  of  my  time,  as  I  was  put  to  helping 
the  artist,  Steitz.  I  have  described  in  earlier  papers  the 
method  of  making  pictures  on  boxwood  by  cutting  out 
the  white  parts  of  the  wooden  field,  and  have  referred 
to  photo-engravings  which  were  made  by  washing  out 
the  white  parts  from  a  gelatin  field  affected  by  the  chem- 
ical action  of  light.  The  pictures  in  the  Post-Dispatch 
were  made  by  a  third  process,  in  its  kind  a  reversal  of 
these  two  methods.  This  was  called  the  chalk  process. 
The  artist  drew  his  lines  with  a  sharp  point  through  a 
deposit  of  specially  prepared  chalk  precipitated  upon  zinc 


plates,  which  were  then  used  as  moulds  upon  which 
stereotype  metal,  poured  hot,  hardened  into  plates  that 
printed  exactly  as  the  ordinary  letter  type.  The  method 
was  hard  on  the  draftsman,  because  the  chalk,  which 
turned  to  dust  under  his  strokes,  had  to  be  blown  away 
after  each  mark  in  order  to  let  him  see  the  shining  metal 
of  the  exposed  plate,  which  after  all  made  a  poor  con- 
trast to  the  white  field. 

Both  Steitz  and  I  used  to  look  with  envy  and  covetous- 
ness  at  the  daily  copy  of  the  younger  paper  owned  by 
the  Pulitzer  company,  the  New  York  World,  which  came 
to  us  fresh'  each  morning  and  was  spread  on  our  care- 
fully guarded  files,  generously  supplied  as  each  edition 
was  with  illustrations  made  by  photographing  the  artist's 
unimpeded  pen  work,  and  having  the  further  advantage 
of  reduction  from  large  originals,  whereas  our  chalk  plates 
had  to  be  drawn  to  the  exact  size  and  limits  of  our 

It  was  the  custom  of  the  New  York  paper  at  that  time 
to  illustrate  its  current  news  with  little  run-in  cuts  made 
by  its  admirable  autographic  process;  little  outline  illus- 
trations sometimes  taking  less  than  half  the  width  of 
the  column,  but  so  pat  and  referable  to  the  text  carrying 
them  that  they  were  a  pleasure  to  the  reader.  Some- 
thing in  policy  or  process  has  now  banished  these  little 

In  that  winter  of  1885-1886  there  was  going  on  in  the 
city  of  New  York  the  trial  of  General  Alexander  Shaler, 
charged  with  accepting  bribes  while  a  member  of  the 
militia  board  of  New  York  from  the  owner  of  certain 
parcels  of  ground  selected  as  sites  for  armories.  The 
New  York  papers  were  treating  him  and  his  defense  with 
a  levity  that  made  amusing  reading  even  in  the  Middle 


West,  where  there  was  no  other  interest  in  the  trial.  Ex- 
perts in  our  St.  Louis  office  were  divided  in  their  guesses 
at  the  writer  of  these  excellent  reports,  the  weight  of 
opinion  being  for  Joseph  Howard,  Jr.,  a  writer  then  fre- 
quently signing  exclusive  and  syndicated  stuff,  and  held 
up  by  all  editors  as  an  example  to  the  local  men. 

Referring  to  these  reports  years  afterward,  to  Joe  How- 
ard himself,  he  disclaimed  their  credit  and  pointed  to 
Henry  Guy  Carleton,  who  was  sitting  with  us.  Carleton 
was  then  receiving  congratulations  for  his  play  "Ambi- 
tion," which  Nat  Goodwin  was  doing  at  the  Fifth  Avenue 
Theatre,  a  block  above  Valkenburg's  Cafe,  in  which  we 
were.  Thus  prompted,  Carleton  told  of  Shaler's  in- 
dignation one  morning  at  the  descriptive  phrase,  "His 
eyes  looked  as  though  they  had  just  been  taken  from 
the  oven  and  buttered."  With  the  paper  in  his  hand, 
Shaler  had  left  his  place  in  the  court-room  and,  shaking 
his  finger  in  the  face  of  the  World's  routine  man  at  the 
reporters'  table,  denounced  the  whole  reportorial  tribe, 
while  Carleton,  the  guilty  writer,  was  safely  seated  among 
the  spectators. 

But  the  New  York  World  of  that  time  held  for  me 
each  day  an  interest  transcending  those  comic  reports. 
Robert  Man  tell  was  winning  praise  in  "The  Marble 
Heart"  at  the  Fifth  Avenue  Theatre,  and  a  letter  to  me 
from  Will  Smythe  said  that  he  was  considering  the  ad- 
visability of  following  that  drama  with  "The  Burglar." 
Pauline  Hall,  who  had  been  in  the  Yokes  company  three 
summers  before  when  we  played  "In  Camp,"  and  had 
been  refused  the  transient  hotel  rates  along  with  West- 
ford  and  myself  at  the  Matteson  House  in  Chicago, 
was  now  starring  jointly  with  Francis  Wilson  at  the 
Casino  in  "Erminie,"  which  had  reached  its  three-hun- 
dredth performance  on  Broadway. 


Rosina  Vokes,  who  had  left  Fred  before  his  tryout  of 
that  same  piece  while  she  went  to  England,  was  back 
with  her  own  excellent  little  company,  playing  "The 
School  Mistress"  at  the  Standard  Theatre.  "Muldoon's 
Picnic,"  the  comedy  our  company  had  appropriated  for 
performances  in  Canada  and  New  Orleans,  was  crowding 
Tony  Pastor's  Theatre,  with  Barry  and  Fay  in  their 
proper  roles.  Salsbury's  Troubadours,  after  which  we 
had  modelled  our  now  disbanded  company,  was  playing 
"The  Humming  Bird"  at  the  Star  Theatre. 

James  O'Neil,  with  whom  Delia  Fox  had  made  her 
first  appearance  in  "The  Celebrated  Case,"  was  begin- 
ning at  Booth's  Theatre  in  New  York  his  run  of  "Monte 
Cristo,"  which  was  to  serve  him  as  a  vehicle  for  some 
twenty  years  thereafter.  Sarah  Bernhardt,  who  had 
been  our  Sketch  Club  guest  at  the  picture  gallery  in  St. 
Louis,  was  giving  for  the  first  time  a  farewell  tour  which 
was  to  be  repeated  at  intervals  for  the  next  thirty  years. 
Minnie  Maddern,  in  whom  I  felt  more  than  a  passing 
interest  because  she  had  been  such  a  favorite  at  Pope's 
Theatre,  and  because  Tom  Davy,  who  had  been  in  part- 
nership with  my  father  in  New  Orleans  when  I  was  a  lad, 
had  subsequently  become  her  father,  was  playing  "Ca- 
price," by  Howard  Taylor,  at  the  Bijou  Opera  House. 

Robson  and  Crane,  friendship  with  whom  I  had  formed 
in  the  old  art-gallery  days,  and  who  had  done  much  to 
inspire  me  and  my  companions  in  our  theatrical  ven- 
tures, were  playing  Bronson  Howard's  record-breaking 
comedy,  "The  Henrietta,"  at  the  Union  Square  Theatre. 
Will  Gillette  had  quit  his  amusing  play,  "The  Professor," 
and  with  "Held  by  the  Enemy,"  the  first  and  best  of 
the  war  plays,  was  rivalling  the  concurrent  success  of 
Bronson  Howard. 


But  the  most  interesting  item  of  all  if  I  had  had  the 
gift  of  prophecy  would  have  been  the  fact  that  Edwin 
Booth  and  Lawrence  Barrett  were  beginning  their  joint 
starring  venture  under  the  management  of  Arthur  B. 
Chase  in  the  tour  that  was  to  have  as  one  of  its  incidents, 
as  already  hinted,  my  own  elimination  as  a  budding  news- 
paper proprietor. 

These  theatrical  events  in  New  York,  distracting  as 
they  were  to  a  would-be  dramatist  in  St.  Louis,  were 
helped  in  their  irritating  insistence  by  their  summary 
that  our  then  theatrical  man,  George  Sibley  Johns,  now 
managing  editor,  made  every  week  for  the  Saturday 

Many  big  newspaper  stories  broke  that  year,  carrying 
valuable  material  for  a  would-be  playwright.  I  got  the 
backbone  of  "In  Mizzoura,"  in  which  Nat  Goodwin 
starred  in  1893,  from  the  Jim  Cummings  express  rob- 
bery. Cummings,  whose  right  name  was  Whitlock,  had 
forged  an  order  upon  a  Missouri  Pacific  express  mes- 
senger to  carry  him  deadhead  from  St.  Louis  to  Vinita, 
and  had  climbed  with  this  authority  into  the  express  car 
as  the  train  was  leaving  the  Union  Station.  He  had 
helped  the  messenger  sort  his  packages  until  a  good 
chance  came  to  poke  a  gun  into  his  cheek  and  tell  him  to 
be  quiet  while  being  tied.  Then  Cummings  had  stepped 
off  in  the  dark  at  a  water-tank  with  a  suitcase  packed 
with  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  thousand  dollars  in 

When  Cummings  was  finally  arrested,  and  in  the  same 
cell  in  the  Fourcourts  where  I  had  gone  to  visit  John 
Cockerill  after  the  shooting  of  Slayback,  he  and  I  became 
well  acquainted.  Two  features  of  his  exploit  that  I  ad- 
mired were  his  motive  for  it  and  his  rehearsal  of  the  per- 


formance.  The  motive  was  to  get  four  thousand  dollars 
to  lift  a  mortgage  his  mother  had  put  on  her  home  to 
start  him  in  the  coal  business. 

Knowing  that  he  would  reach  this  water-tank  and 
drop  off  in  the  night,  his  rehearsal  was  to  go  over  the 
route  of  his  escape,  about  twelve  miles  of  rough  country 
to  the  Missouri  River,  twice — once  in  the  daylight  to 
determine  it,  and  once  at  night  to  master  its  difficulties 
under  that  condition.  It  was  only  when  later  he  got  to 
extemporizing  that  he  fell  into  difficulty  and  was  cap- 
tured. For  a  successful  run  full  rehearsals  are  necessary. 

Another  celebrated  case  was  the  murder  of  an  Eng- 
lishman named  Preller  by  a  fellow  Englishman,  Maxwell, 
who  needed  the  money,  and  who  left  a  trunk  containing 
Preller's  body  with  the  hotel  as  security  for  his  board- 
bill.  I  made  an  incidental  use  of  this  in  the  "Earl  of 
Pawtucket"  for  Lawrence  D'Orsay  in  1903. 

Other  incidents,  character  bits,  and  situations  in  that 
newspaper  work,  too  numerous  and  detached  for  pres- 
ent description,  helped  pack  a  mental  record  upon  which 
I  drew  more  or  less  for  some  sixty  plays,  big  and  little. 

Along  in  this  first  Post-Dispatcb  winter  came  what 
was  called  the  Great  Southwestern  Railroad  strike, 
handled  from  the  labor  end  by  the  consequently  notori- 
ous Martin  Irons.  This  started  over  the  discharge  of 
one  union  man.  When  manifestations  at  the  Missouri 
Pacific  yards  between  Grand  and  Summit  Avenues  in 
St.  Louis  required  a  second  reporter  to  help  cover  them 
I  was  sent  to  the  scene.  Among  the  captains  handling 
the  labor  forces  I  met  two  of  the  old  K.  C.  &  N.  Railroad 
men  who  had  served  as  junior  officers  in  the  Knights  of 
Labor  assembly  over  which  I  had  presided  as  master 
workman  some  ten  years  before.  By  them  I  was  enabled 


to  sit  in  the  back  room  of  a  little  cake  and  ice-cream  shop 
on  Chouteau  Avenue  and  write  up  all  the  big  events  of 
a  physical  nature  in  that  district  some  hours  before  their 
occurrence;  to  send  these  reports  to  the  newspaper  and 
have  them  on  the  galleys  ready  to  put  into  the  forms  and 
print  upon  the  telephonic  release.  Some  sensations  hap- 
pening as  late  as  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  with  the 
paper  held  for  their  promised  performance,  and  then 
able  immediately  to  go  upon  the  street  with  a  detailed 
account  of  them,  took  place  two  or  three  miles  away 
from  the  quiet  crossing  patrolled  by  the  police  and  fel- 
low reporters. 

I  was  never  at  liberty  to  tell  my  sources  of  informa- 
tion, but  the  paper,  after  the  first  confirming  result,  gave 
me  its  confidence.  The  only  concession  I  had  to  make 
for  this  exclusive  information  was  not  to  give  the  strikers 
the  worst  of  it.  For  two  weeks  the  Post-Dispatch  led  in 
this  privileged  fashion;  and  then  one  morning,  getting 
off  the  train,  which  usually  slowed  down  at  Summit 
Avenue,  but  on  this  particular  occasion,  avoiding  an 
expected  assault,  pumped  up  a  speed  of  some  thirty  miles, 
I  stepped  onto  a  crossing  covered  with  oak  planking  worn 
to  bristling  splinters.  One  of  these  ran  through  a  break 
in  the  defective  half  sole  and  lining  of  a  shoe  and  pinned 
me  long  enough  to  retard  my  technic.  It  also  sent  me 
to  the  hospital.  Another  man  took  my  job  at  the  crossing, 
and  there  was  a  turnover  in  the  paper's  treatment  of  that 
local  situation.  When  I  came  back  to  work,  these  ex- 
clusive reports,  bunched  along  with  the  good  work  of 
the  staff,  had  taken  me  a  little  out  of  the  awkward  squad. 

I  wish  that  what  I  have  next  to  record  could  be  written 
in  the  third  person;  wish  that  I  were  writing  of  somebody 
else  or  that  the  yarn  didn't  sound  so  like  the  small-boy 


stories  of  the  despised  bush-league  pitcher  called  from 
the  big-team  bench  to  save  the  deciding  game  of  the 
championship  series.  And,  as  it  is,  I'm  going  to  ham- 
string every  dramatic  trick  in  the  telling  of  it.  I'm  go- 
ing to  draw  all  the  climactic  fizz  from  it  now  by  saying 
to  start  with  that  one  Saturday  afternoon  I  was  the  low- 
score  man  on  the  local  staff  of  the  Post-Dispatch,  and 
that  twelve  days  later,  because  a  talented  and  honest 
and  earnest  woman  happened  also  to  be  vain  enough  to 
pretend  to  a  knowledge  of  elementary  Latin  which  she 
didn't  have,  a  committee  of  politicians  and  bankers  and 
otherwise  sane  citizens  were  trying  to  give  me  in  fee 
simple  a  going  newspaper  and  fifty  thousand  dollars  in 
cash  under  the  misapprehension  that  I  was  responsible 
for  nearly  all  the  business  success  of  Joseph  Pulitzer,  to 
whom  I  had  never  spoken. 

I  have  referred  to  the  prominence  in  the  journalistic 
world  at  that  time  of  Mr.  Joseph  Howard,  Jr.,  the  New 
York  feuilletonist.  Either  Johns  or  Jennings  had  in  a 
generous  moment  of  attempted  encouragement  men- 
tioned Howard's  name  in  connection  with  my  own,  ob- 
serving of  course  the  proper  interval  between  the  two. 
This  mention  had  been  seized  upon  by  Magner  as  ma- 
terial for  pleasantry,  but  there  may  be  some  truth  in  the 
maxim  that  every  knock  is  a  boost,  because  his  ridicule 
fixed  it  in  the  mind  of  the  managing  editor,  Moore,  even 
though  in  distorted  form.  One  morning  about  the  latter 
part  of  March,  1887,  Moore  came  into  the  local  rooms 
with  a  telegram  which  he  slowly  handed  to  Magner. 
Magner  read  the  telegram  and  looked  at  Moore,  who 
waited  expectantly.  All  of  us  reporters  were  watching 
both  men  covertly.  Moore  cautiously  indicated  me. 
Magner  threw  up  his  hands  with  an  incredulous  laugh, 


went  to  his  swivel  chair  and  again  swung  into  the  con- 
sultation. Moore  laid  the  telegram  in  front  of  me.  It 
was  from  Mr.  Ballard  Smith,  managing  editor  of  the 
New  York  World.  It  read: 

On  Tuesday,  April  5th,  the  women  of  Kansas  will  for  the  first  time 
vote  in  the  local  elections.  Send  your  best  humorous  writer  and 
an  artist  at  once  to  make  a  tour  of  the  State  to  describe  and  illus- 
trate conditions  in  principal  cities.  Have  them  arrange  with  local 
men  in  each  city  to  report  by  telegraph  to  a  central  point,  say  To- 
peka,  on  election  day,  from  which  place  your  reporter  will  telegraph 
us  summaries  of  the  results. 

When  I  had  read  it  I  looked  over  at  Magner,  who  was 
grinning  derisively,  and  then  up  to  Moore,  who  stood 
beside  me  with  a  quite  uncertain  expression. 

I  said:   "Were  you  thinking  of  sending  me?" 

Moore  nodded. 

"In  what  capacity — humorous  writer  or  artist?" 

Moore  answered,  "Both." 

When  I  didn't  faint  at  his  reply  he  told  me  to  follow 
him  into  his  private  office,  where  the  arrangements  were 
completed.  It  must  be  told  in  partial  explanation  that, 
as  far  as  affairs  on  the  paper  were  concerned,  Moore  was 
noted  for  his  extreme  economy.  The  chance  to  save  the 
expenses  and  salary  of  one  man  on  this  proposed  trip 
for  two  must  have  been  a  consideration. 

On  the  daylight  run  from  St.  Louis  in  the  parlor-car, 
which  had  few  passengers,  a  lady  came  from  a  chair  at 
the  other  end  to  take  away  her  little  daughter  of  five  or 
six,  who  she  thought  was  annoying  me.  On  the  con- 
trary, I  was  much  interested,  as  the  child  had  said  her 
home  was  in  Leavenworth.  The  lady  herself  was  a  sister 
of  Mayor  S.  F.  Neely  of  that  city,  who  was  a  candidate 
for  reelection.  She  was  going  home  to  vote  for  him. 


During  the  afternoon  I  got  from  her  a  better  insight  into 
the  politics  in  the  State  from  a  woman's  point  of  view 
than  I  could  have  got  perhaps  by  two  or  three  days'  un- 
aided reportorial  inquiry.  Getting  to  Leavenworth  that 
night,  I  made  Mayor  Neely's  acquaintance  under  these 
favorable  conditions  also,  and  after  a  day  there  started 
over  the  State.  I  made  the  prescribed  tour,  sent  in 
stories  and  drawings  to  the  New  York  World,  and  it  was 
fun  to  be  able  to  draw  freely  with  a  pen  for  publication 
for  the  first  time  without  an  interfering  medium. 

On  Saturday,  April  2,  I  returned  to  Leavenworth,  and 
called  at  the  house  of  D.  R.  Anthony,  brother  of  Susan 
B.,  to  see  Mrs.  Helen  M.  Gouger,  the  militant  suffragist 
who  had  organized  the  Republican  women  of  Kansas. 
Mrs.  Gouger  was  in  good  spirits,  because  it  was  felt  by 
her  party  associates  that  they  would  carry  the  State  and 
that  Mayor  Neely,  the  Democratic  candidate  in  the  city 
of  Leavenworth,  would  be  defeated  by  three  thousand 
majority.  The  mayor  himself  privately  conceded  an  ex- 
pected defeat  by  twenty-five  hundred. 

I  had  chosen  Leavenworth  as  my  headquarters  for 
election  day  because  of  its  nearness  to  Kansas  City  for 
one  reason,  and  largely  because  of  my  new  friendship 
for  Mayor  Neely  and  the  comfortable  quarters  at  the 
Hotel  Delmonico,  kept  at  that  time  by  two  Italian 
brothers  named  Giacomini. 

For  herself,  Mrs.  Gouger  said  that  she  was  there  be- 
cause Leavenworth  was  the  Sodom  of  America.  I  called 
her  attention  to  the  significance  and  the  gravity  of  this 
characterization,  both  of  which  she  said  she  knew  and 
stood  for;  told  her  the  statement  was  to  be  printed  in 
the  New  York  World.  As  it  would  not  appear  before 
Tuesday  morning,  she  gave  her  full  permission  for  its 


publication.  Answering  further  questions,  she  said 
Leavenworth  deserved  that  characterization  because  the 
upper  strata  of  its  female  population  had  been  corrupted 
by  the  proximity  of  the  military  post  of  Fort  Leaven- 
worth,  with  its  officers.  I  knew  that  both  these  state- 
ments, the  Sodom  characterization  and  the  charge  against 
the  military,  were  loaded,  and  hesitated  to  repeat  them 
even  with  her  permission.  Back  at  the  hotel  I  inquired 
of  Neely  if  there  was  ground  for  the  statement,  and,  in 
the  slang  of  the  day,  he  hit  the  ceiling. 

My  room  that  night  was  invaded  by  consecutive  com- 
mittees of  citizens  asking  me  to  confirm  this  report  which 
Neely  had  rather  liberally  passed  on.  In  one  of  these 
committees,  unknown  to  me,  was  a  reporter  for  the  Kan- 
sas City  Times.  That  paper  appeared  on  Sunday  morn- 
ing with  a  vivid  article  calling  upon  the  citizens  of 
Leavenworth  to  defend  their  homes  against  this  slander, 
and  a  free  copy  was  laid  at  every  door  in  the  city.  As 
I  was  comfortably  taking  a  late  breakfast  in  the  hotel 
dining-room  Monday  morning  a  square-toed  visitor 
touched  me  on  the  shoulder  and  told  me  he  had  a  war- 
rant for  my  arrest. 

Remembering  Don  Cesar  de  Bazan,  Elliott  Gray,  Sir 
Francis  Levison,  and  other  theatrical  leading  gentlemen 
of  self-control,  I  tried  to  emulate  them.  Not  allowing 
this  startling  news  to  seem  to  interrupt  my  breakfast,  I 
asked  why  I  was  to  be  taken,  and  was  shown  a  warrant 
for  my  arrest  upon  the  charge  of  criminal  libel.  The 
constable  consented  to  wait  in  the  doorway  and  watch 
me  finish  my  meal.  While  I  Fletcherized  everything 
and  ordered  more,  I  sent  for  a  proprietor  of  the  hotel, 
and  he  and  his  brother  despatched  messengers  to  find 
Mayor  Neely. 


As  the  constable  and  I  approached  Judge  Plowman's 
court  policemen  had  to  make  way  for  us  through  a  crowd 
which  was  threatening.  One  tough  individual  with  an 
unshaven  jaw  close  to  my  face  asked  if  the  World  had 
sent  me  to  Kansas  to  fight  the  Knights  of  Labor.  With- 
out speaking,  I  gave  what  had  been  the  secret  signs  of 
membership  when  I  was  a  master  workman  of  the 
Knights  of  Labor.  It  seemed  these  signs  had  been  super- 
seded, and  my  use  of  them  rather  increased  his  anger 
and  that  of  his  gang.  I  got  into  the  court  and  in  front 
of  the  judge,  however,  unpunched.  It  was  a  serious  situa- 
tion for  the  artist  and  the  humorous  writer  for  the  World 
and  Post-Dispatch.  To  paraphrase  Mansfield's  Prince 
Karl,  "I  was  two  men,  and  she  arrests  me  both." 

I  looked  about  for  Mayor  Neely.  No  friend  was  in 
sight.  I  began  to  write  a  telegram  reporting  the  situa- 
tion as  briefly  as  possible  to  the  St.  Louis  office.  As  I 
wrote,  the  prosecuting  attorney  addressed  the  court. 
He  was  asking  for  an  adjournment  of  the  case  until 
Wednesday.  The  judge  asked  if  that  was  agreeable  to 
me.  I  answered  that  it  was,  but  as  I  spoke  a  card  was 
put  on  the  telegram  I  was  framing. 

The  man  holding  it  said:   "I  am  your  attorney." 

The  judge  announced,  "Then  this  case  is  adjourned 
until " 

My  new  friend  of  the  card  interrupted  him. 

"Pardon,  Your  Honor,  we  demand  immediate  hear- 

"But  your  client  has  asked  for  an  adjournment  to 

I,  too,  begged  His  Honor's  pardon  and  said  I  had  not 
made  any  request.  Personally  I  wanted  to  be  agreeable; 
but  my  attorney,  Mr.  Thomas  P.  Fenlon,  would  conduct 


my  case  with  no  interference  on  my  part.  After  another 
interchange  by  the  lawyers  a  recess  was  taken  by  the 

Except  for  its  mere  outline,  this  was  all  rather  mean- 
ingless to  me  until  I  was  again  through  the  threatening 
crowd  and  safe  in  the  office  of  ex-United  States  Senator 
Lucian  Baker,  associated  with  the  Honorable  Thomas 
P.  Fenlon.  Then  I  learned  that  the  prosecution  hoped 
only  to  get  the  case  over  and  beyond  election  day,  and 
that  the  town  was  already  being  covered  with  hand- 
bills containing  an  account  of  the  criminal  proceedings 
against  me  and  announcing  that  the  slanderer  was  in 

The  news  of  the  World  man's  arrest  had  followed  the 
morning  papers  to  Fort  Leavenworth,  where  Mrs. 
Gouger's  published  charges  against  the  army  officers  of 
that  post  had  released  a  hornet's  nest.  Those  officers 
could  take  no  immediate  action  in  defense  of  their  own 
good  repute  and  the  reputations  of  the  Leavenworth 
ladies  who  had  received  them  socially,  but  they  were 
not  unable  to  show  their  colors.  When  Judge  Plowman's 
court  came  to  order  after  recess  the  equal  crowd  that 
packed  it  was  of  another  complexion  than  that  of  the 
morning  rabble  of  political  strikers.  Closely  around  its 
sides  stood  a  row  of  commissioned  officers,  every  one  in 
his  best  dress  uniform  of  the  old  army  blue  and  gold; 
and  they  were  grim  of  face,  those  fighting  fellows. 

The  case  opened.  Mrs.  Gouger,  on  the  stand,  didn't 
wish  to  deny  her  statement  that  the  upper  strata  of 
Leavenworth's  female  society  was  corrupted  by  the 
Leavenworth  post.  She  had  been  decided  upon  her 
charge  against  me  by  my  exaggeration  in  changing 
"strata"  to  "stratum."  When  she  found  under  the 


ironic  cross-examination  of  Baker  that  "stratum"  was 
the  singular  not  the  plural,  of  her  Latin  noun,  the  poor 
lady  burst  into  tears. 

The  case  was  dismissed  and  in  a  little  while  Leaven- 
worth  was  again  covered  with  handbills  issued  by  the 
Neely  camp,  saying,  "Mrs.  Gouger  repeats  her  slanders 
in  court." 

It  is  difficult  at  this  distance  of  time  and  territory  to 
appreciate  the  agitation  that  this  charge  of  immorality 
and  corruption  made  upon  that  social  section.  That 
afternoon  and  again  next  morning,  election  day,  both 
the  Leavenworth  and  the  Kansas  City  papers  dwelt 
sensationally  upon  the  gravity  of  Mrs.  Gouger's  accusa- 
tions, with  the  result  that  when  the 'lines  formed  at  the 
polls  there  was  the  unusual  sight  of  the  finest  women  in 
the  city  pleading  with  their  humbler  sisters  who  worked 
for  them  as  laundresses,  maids,  or  in  other  domestic 
relations  to  come  to  their  rescue  and  resent  this  slan- 

It  was  an  exciting  day,  and  when  the  polls  closed 
everybody  knew  that  Neely  had  not  lost  by  any  twenty- 
five  hundred.  At  7.30  the  report  came  in  that  he  had 
lost  by  only  thirty-one  votes,  and  then,  a  half  hour  later, 
after  some  intense  scrutiny,  the  final  result  was  an- 

Neely  winner  by  a  majority  of  sixteen ! 

Neely  had  represented  the  liberal  tendencies  of  the 
community  and  of  course  the  municipal  organizations, 
and  when  the  sixteen  majority  was  a  settled  fact  at  about 
8:30  that  night  fire  bells  rang,  engine  companies  turned 
out,  their  red-shirted  crews  came  to  the  Delmonico  Hotel 
and  in  a  kind  of  Mardigras  excitement  ran  their  hose 
through  all  the  building.  I  don't  know  just  what  that 


symbolized,  but  along  with  their  yelling  and  the  brass 
bands  and  the  military  on  leave  it  was  one  more  variety 
of  emotional  outlet.  As  the  excitement  mounted  there 
was  a  call  for  the  representative  of  the  New  York  World, 
and  despite  protests  I  was  carried  by  those  firemen  and 
Mayor  Neely's  managers  to  the  balcony  of  the  hotel, 
from  which  I  was  refused  egress  until  I  had  made  some 
sort  of  speech  to  the  crowd. 

This  whole  thing  has  a  Munchausen  ring  to  it;  but  it 
is  in  the  musty  files  of  those  old  papers,  and  I  can't  escape 
it  if  I  am  going  to  tell  truthfully  the  things  that  have 
seemed  to  affect  my  course,  guided  as  it  was,  like  that  of 
the  beetle,  principally  by  collisions.  Wednesday  was 
another  large  day,  and  on  Thursday  evening  there  was 
a  victor's  banquet  organized  by  the  local  banker,  Mr. 
M.  H.  Insley,  who  with  Mayor  Neely  owned  a  majority 
of  the  stock  of  the  afternoon  paper,  the  Leavenworth 
Standard.  There  were  about  forty  of  the  principal  busi- 
ness men  of  the  city  at  the  table.  In  their  speeches  they 
explained  the  secret  of  the  great  Pulitzer  successes.  It 
was  having  priceless  men  like  me  beside  him  and  mak- 
ing it  worth-while  for  them  to  stay  there.  The  next  day 
Mayor  Neely  and  Mr.  Insley  and  two  others  who  made 
up  the  big  four  came  to  the  hotel  and  offered  me  The 
Evening  Standard  and  fifty  thousand  dollars  with  which 
to  get  additional  equipment  if  I  would  stay  in  Leaven- 
worth  and  edit  the  paper  in  the  same  vigorous  way  in 
which  I  had  just  won  the  recent  campaign.  As  we  talked 
about  it  a  telegram  came  from  Ballard  Smith  of  the 

"Go  at  once  to  Fort  Gibson,  Indian  Territory,  where 
James  G.  Elaine  is  seriously  ill  at  the  home  of  his  son- 
in-law,  Colonel  Coppinger.  Send  full  reports." 


My  good  friend,  Mayor  Neely,  and  his  banker  partner 
said  they  would  hold  their  offer  open  for  me  until  my  re- 
turn, and  they  did.  I  gave  the  banker  a  draft  for  rail- 
road fares  to  Gibson. 


In  the  spring  of  1887  James  G.  Elaine  was  an  impor- 
tant figure  in  the  field  of  national  politics.  Less  than 
three  years  before  he  had  been  defeated  by  Mr.  Cleve- 
land by  a  very  narrow  margin.  The  State  of  New  York 
had  been  lost  to  Elaine  by  a  little  more  than  one  thou- 
sand votes.  Shortly  preceding  the  election  the  Rev- 
erend Doctor  Burchard,  a  member  of  a  committee  of 
visiting  ministers,  had  made  an  address  in  which  he  spoke 
of  the  opposition  to  Blaine  as  a  party  of  Rum,  Romanism, 
and  Rebellion.  This  phrase,  unnoticed  by  Blaine  at  the 
time,  and  unchallenged  or  uncorrected  until  it  reached 
the  public,  had  undoubtedly  alienated  at  least  the  five 
hundred  and  odd  votes  in  the  State  of  New  York  upon 
which  the  election  turned. 

But  the  tw"o  years  and  more  between  that  time  and 
May  of  1887  had  in  the  public  mind  relieved  Blaine  of 
any  responsibility  for  this  utterance,  and  in  a  spirit  of 
fairness  there  was  a  disposition  over  the  country  to  give 
another  chance  to  this  gallant  candidate.  That  he  should 
be  dangerously  ill  at  an  out-of-the-way  military  post  in 
the  southwest  territory  was  of  interest. 

Fort  Gibson  is  nine  miles  from  the  little  railroad  sid- 
ing and  telegraph  office  of  Gibson.  Instructed  by  the 
World  to  go  to  this  place  from  Kansas,  where  I  had  been 
reporting  the  State  elections,  I  found  it  necessary  to 

make  two  round  trips  between  the  station  and  the  fort 



each  day,  a  total  of  thirty-six  miles,  on  a  little  cow  pony 
hired  for  the  service.  Along  the  trail  the  grass  and  spring 
flowers  were  showing  profusely.  The  ride  was  pleasant, 
and  during  the  week's  stay  in  the  quiet  place  it  was  agree- 
able in  the  saddle  to  think  over  the  offer  by  the  generous 
citizens  of  Leavenworth,  under  a  total  misapprehension 
on  their  part,  to  give  me  an  afternoon  newspaper.  The 
prospect  offered  immeasurable  possibilities  to  a  man  of 
thirty,  not  unfamiliar  with  politics  and  in  thorough  sym- 
pathy with  the  people  of  the  section.  But  to  accept  the 
offer  would  mean  the  abandonment  of  a  long-desired 
association  with  the  theatre.  It  was  a  difficult  choice. 
On  one  side  was  a  property  established  and  in  the  hand; 
on  the  other,  a  dream. 

In  Gibson  town,  besides  the  station  house,  a  dinky 
shed,  at  once  passenger  and  freight  depot,  there  were 
exactly  two  houses.  One  of  them  was  occupied  on  its 
first  floor  by  a  small  general  grocery  store  and  post-office, 
with  two  family  rooms  above.  The  second  red  frame  of 
four  rooms  sheltered  a  squaw  man  and  his  full-blooded 
Cherokee  wife,  besides  three  or  four  small  children  and 
his  handsome  half-breed  daughter,  aged  eighteen.  There 
was  no  hotel,  no  boarding-house.  In  the  squaw-man's 
house  I  shared  one  ground  floor  room  with  a  great  Dane 
watchdog.  Before  my  coming  he  had  had  the  bed  to 
himself.  He  was  a  particular  dog,  and  during  my  week 
there  never  grew  fully  reconciled  to  my  using  half  of  the 
bed.  If  I  turned  over  in  the  night  too  vigorously  he 
growled,  but  perhaps  because  I  stopped  promptly  each 
time  at  his  first  growl  he  never  bit  me. 

The  window  was  open.  There  was  no  lock  on  the  door. 
Two  or  three  times  each  night  at  irregular  intervals  the 
dog  suddenly  bounded  through  the  window  with  terrify- 


ing  barks,  and,  as  I  judged  by  their  diminuendo,  regu- 
lated some  distant  intrusion  into  what  he  held  to  be  the 
home  district  of  that  wide  prairie.  After  a  while  he  would 
come  grumbling  back  and  resume  his  place  on  our  bed, 
and  like  an  English  tourist  turn  around  and  over  as  much 
as  he  liked.  Each  morning  I  washed  my  face  and  hands 
in  a  tin  basin  on  a  bench  outside  the  kitchen  and  combed 
my  hair  by  the  help  of  what  reflection  I  could  get  in  the 
window  glass  of  the  open  door,  while  the  Cherokee  half- 
breed  daughter  asked  me  how  I  liked  my  eggs. 

That  half-breed  girl  was  one  of  the  prettiest,  best- 
mannered,  best-educated  girls  I  had  seen  anywhere. 
She  was  home  at  that  season  because  the  female  seminary 
at  Tahlequah  had  temporarily  been  put  out  of  commis- 
sion by  a  fire.  She  had  a  senior  high-school  knowledge 
of  English  literature  and  its  accompanying  studies  of 
that  grade,  and  she  specialized  in  French.  Of  the  Indian 
mother  I  had  only  an  occasional  glimpse.  The  white 
father  was  busy  with  his  planting.  I  was  the  only  person 
at  table  for  twenty-one  meals,  and  this  dusky  beauty 
stood  opposite  me  at  each  meal  and  talked  down  at  me 
on  all  subjects  wherein  my  dependence  was  upon  books. 
About  Wednesday  she  started  in  to  improve  my  mind. 
There  was  a  phrase  in  the  Cherokee  tongue  that  she 
wanted  me  to  learn.  I  got  it  perfectly,  although  I  for- 
got it  years  ago;  but  I  shall  never  forget  her  roguish  eyes, 
or  the  perfect  teeth  as  she  smiled  in  its  repetitions. 

Women  unchaperoned  are  the  same  the  world  over. 
She  wasn't  bold  and  she  wasn't  timid,  but  she  wouldn't 
tell  me  the  English  of  it.  I  did  all  I  could  with  it 
in  Cherokee,  however,  careful  of  course  to  let  nobody 
else  overhear  me.  I  gave  it  all  the  insinuation  a  man 
could  give  any  phrase  of  whose  meaning  he  was  still  a 


bit  uncertain.  I  repeated  it  while  on  the  little  buckskin 
pony  so  as  not  to  forget  it.  An  old  Indian  fighter  at  the 
post  with  whom  I  got  friendly  couldn't  translate  it.  Fri- 
day night  I  resolved  to  take  a  chance.  Two  squaws  were 
buying  sugar  at  the  grocery.  The  big  storekeeper  was 
speaking  Cherokee  to  them.  After  they  left  I  got  near 
the  door,  because  there  are  things  a  pretty  girl  can  say 
to  a  stranger  with  more  propriety  than  the  stranger  can 
claim  in  saying  them  to  a  general  grocer  with  whiskers 
and  a  flannel  shirt  and  a  gun. 

I  said,  "Mr.  Brown,  will  you  translate  a  sentence  in 
Cherokee  for  me?" 


I  can  see  him  now  tidily  wiping  out  the  big  sugar  scoop 
on  the  scales  with  a  soiled  towel.  The  sun  had  gone 
down.  Outside  it  was  dark.  He  waited.  I  repeated  the 
speech  just  as  the  girl  had  pronounced  it  to  me,  but  with- 
out the  teeth-and-eye  business  or  any  coquettishness,  of 
course.  I  didn't  want  him  to  plead  my  impertinent  man- 
ner as  an  additional  excuse  for  violence. 

As  I  finished  and  he  shook  the  sugar  crumbs  from  the 
towel  he  said:  "Oh,  yes,  that  means,  'The  Lord  is  my 
shepherd;  I  shall  not  want.' ' 

The  next  day  Mr.  Blaine  was  sufficiently  recovered 
for  me  to  leave  him  to  local  reports.  Getting  back  to 
Kansas  City  I  met  by  appointment  our  old  advance 
man,  Frank  Hamilton.  Hamilton  was  the  owner  of  a 
weekly  paper  recently  started,  called  the  Kansas  City 
Mirror.  He  was  also  the  owner  of  a  lease  of  a  proposed 
theatre  to  be  called  the  Warder  Grand  Opera  House. 
He  offered  to  give  me  one-half  interest  in  both  if  I  would 
help  him  in  their  management  and  would  decline  the 
Leavenworth  offer.  I  returned  to  St.  Louis,  closed  my 


relations  with  the  Post-Dispatch,  left  it  flat,  and  con- 
trary to  the  advice  of  my  father,  who  thought  the 
Leavenworth  opportunity  was  the  greater,  joined  Hamil- 
ton in  his  enterprises. 

As  editor  and  half  owner  of  his  paper  I  had  a  drawing 
account  of  thirty  dollars  a  week,  partly  commuted  into 
a  room  and  dinners  at  Hamilton's  home.  Breakfast  and 
lunch  I  got  outside.  By  Hamilton's  advice,  and  follow- 
ing his  sturdy  example,  my  breakfast  was  uniformly  a 
cup  of  coffee  and  a  quarter  section  of  pie.  I  had  heard 
that  certain  real  intellectuals  in  parts  of  New  England 
had  pie  for  breakfast — apple  pie,  I  thought — but  Hamil- 
ton explained  that  with  its  crust,  its  fruit,  and  its  meat, 
mince  pie  had  all  that  the  human  system  required.  I 
often  recalled  the  story  of  the  dyspeptic  gentleman  who 
to  the  maxim,  "You  can't  eat  your  cake  and  have  it 
too,"  replied  that  he  could  do  just  that;  and  to  my  own 
feeling  of  possession  the  generous  alcoholic  content  of 
the  mince  pie  in  that  locality  and  time  added  the  vague 
feeling  of  a  banquet  the  night  before  and  a  surviving 
aroma  of  popularity. 

The  Kansas  City  Mirror  was  an  eight-page  paper  of  a 
somewhat  larger  sheet  than  the  Saturday  Evening  Post. 
Four  pages  of  what  is  called  patent  inside  came  to  us 
already  printed  with  matter  about  equally  divided  be- 
tween inferior  fiction  and  national  advertisements  not 
entirely  devoid  of  that  element.  The  four  outside  pages 
I  filled  each  week  with  original  and  selected  matter,  and 
some  illustrations.  I  had  an  editorial  column  and  a  dra- 
matic department.  I  was  more  interested  in  the  latter. 
The  local  news,  wherever  possible,  was  manipulated  to 
forward  the  opera-house  enterprise.  The  dramatic  notes 
and  gossip  gave  preference  to  the  attractions  that  we  had 
arranged  for  and  others  that  we  hoped  to  get. 


As  the  editor  of  the  paper  I  met  many  old  theatrical 
friends  who  came  as  members  of  the  companies  that 
visited  Kansas  City  while  the  Warder  Grand  Opera 
House  was  being  built.  I  also  made  new  acquaintances. 
Among  those  the  most  lasting  and  agreeable  was  that 
with  Edwin  Milton  Royle,  since  author  of  "The  Squaw 
Man"  and  other  dramas,  but  then  playing  juveniles 
with  Booth  and  Barrett.  Royle's  play-writing  inclina- 
tion was  a  strong  bond  between  him  and  me. 

Kansas  City  was  organizing  a  great  exposition.  Presi- 
dent Cleveland  came  to  the  town  with  his  bride  for  a 
visit  of  two  days,  during  which  municipal  activities — 
public  reception,  a  grand  ball  and  the  like — made  such 
demand  upon  the  local  papers  that  I  was  called  in  to 
help  the  reporters  of  the  Kansas  City  Times,  and  began 
in  that  two-day  engagement  a  valued  acquaintance  with 
the  author,  Roswell  M.  Field,  brother  of  Eugene  Field. 

The  opening  attraction  of  the  Warder  Grand  was  to  be 
a  week's  repertoire  by  Booth  and  Barrett  under  the  man- 
agement of  Arthur  B.  Chase.  They  were  to  play  six 
nights  and  two  matinees,  and  were  to  receive  a  guaran- 
teed share  of  three  thousand  dollars  a  performance,  a 
minimum  total  of  twenty-four  thousand  dollars.  Each 
man  was  a  favorite  in  Kansas  City;  Booth  was  a  popular 
idol.  The  Warder  Grand  was  to  be  a  good-sized  house. 
We  had  plenty  of  publicity.  Prices  were  more  than 
doubled.  There  was  no  reason  to  doubt  returns  far  in 
excess  of  the  twenty-four  thousand  on  the  week,  and 
Mr.  Hamilton  had  no  difficulty  in  giving  the  bond  that 
Manager  Chase  required.  Things  looked  fine. 

As  the  summer  waxed  and  waned,  and  as  the  theatrical 
season  came  upon  us,  it  grew  painfully  evident  that  the 
opera-house  was  not  going  to  be  completed  in  time  for 



the  Booth  and  Barrett  opening  in  November.  L.  M. 
Crawford,  who  had  a  chain  of  theatres  through  Kansas 
towns,  offered  to  take  the  contract  off  Hamilton's  hands, 
as  its  terms  permitted  it  to  be  assigned.  But  in  his  mind 
Hamilton  saw  a  completed  opera-house,  and  no  logic 
availed  against  that  vision.  A  week  before  the  date  the 
sale  opened  at  the  down-town  library,  and  every  seat 
was  promptly  subscribed.  But  the  opera-house  itself 
was  a  shell.  There  wasn't  a  chair  in  it.  The  stage  was 
not  completed;  it  had  no  roof.  There  wasn't  a  stitch  of 
scenery.  The  carpenter  in  charge  of  the  stage  was  a 
youngster  then,  but  one  of  the  best  stage  mechanics  in 
the  world,  Claude  Hagen.  He  promised  to  be  ready 
with  the  stage,  but  foretold  the  impossibility  of  opening 
without  scenery  or  equipment.  Hamilton  had  felt  sure 
of  being  able  to  rent  sufficient  scenery  from  the  opposi- 
tion houses,  but  it  was  impossible  to  get  any. 

On  the  Thursday  before  the  opening  I  went  to  St. 
Louis  and  explained  the  dire  distress  of  our  enterprise 
to  Mr.  Pope.  Pope  knew  Hamilton  and  liked  both  him 
and  me.  I  started  back  Saturday  morning  with  a  bag- 
gage-car full  of  scenery  attached  to  a  freight  train.  We 
reached  Kansas  City  Sunday  afternoon  and  had  the 
scenery  on  the  stage  Monday  morning.  But  there  was 
still  no  roof.  One  stubborn  beam  that  swung  from  the 
overhanging  derricks  was  still  to  be  put  in  place.  The 
Booth-Barrett  company  called  for  rehearsal,  walked 
about  the  cold  stage  in  their  fur  coats  and  looked  through 
to  the  threatening  sky  that  showed  above  the  entire 

This  auditorium  was  empty  except  for  some  men  who 
were  filling  it  with  temporary  camp  stools  in  rows.  The 
rehearsal  was  dismissed,  and  as  a  matter  of  form  the 


company  reported  in  the  evening;  but  during  the  after- 
noon a  snow-storm  had  fallen,  and  at  night  there  was 
an  inch  of  snow  on  the  streets  and  much  inside  the 
theatre;  no  roof  on  the  Warder  Grand  Opera  House, 
and  no  heat.  Hamilton  and  I,  two  Craig  brothers  who 
were  interested  in  the  enterprise,  a  stenographer,  and 
two  men  from  the  Mirror  office  met  the  arriving  patrons 
and  explained  the  postponement  of  the  performance 
until  the  following  night. 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  grumbling  then  and  a  great 
deal  of  confusion  at  the  ticket-office  the  next  day.  Dur- 
ing that  Tuesday,  however,  Hamilton  got  some  tarpaulins 
put  over  the  roof  and  brought  four  large  cannon  stoves 
into  the  theatre.  These  stoves  were  set  up  in  the  private 
boxes  with  pipes  leading  to  the  nearest  outlets  and  kept 
red-hot  during  the  day.  At  noon  Mr.  Booth  and  Mr. 
Barrett,  with  their  fur  collars  turned  up,  were  on  the 
stage  again  looking  at  the  still-forbidding  conditions. 
As  there  was  no  other  assistant  who  knew  anything  about 
moving  scenery,  I  was  in  a  suit  of  overalls  to  help  Hagen 
on  the  stage. 

One  green  hand  trying  to  take  a  wing  across  the  back 
of  the  stage  got  it  wabbling  on  its  forefoot  and  then  let 
go  of  it  as  it  started  to  fall.  If  it  were  to  drop  flat-sided 
it  would  come  down  easily  as  a  kite  falls,  and  without 
much  damage;  but  edgewise,  and  dropping  as  a  knife- 
blade,  it  had  lethal  possibilities.  There  was  no  time  to 
talk.  I  jumped  at  the  two  stars  whose  backs  were  toward 
this  menace,  pushed  them  violently  apart,  just  as  the 
scene  fell  between  them,  striking  the  stage  where  they 
had  been  standing,  splitting  the  wood  of  its  two-inch  stiles. 

Mr.  Barrett,  in  real  tragedian  fashion,  said  indignantly, 
"Don't  put  your  hands  on  me,  fellow!" 


Mr.  Booth  lifted  his  gaze  from  the  broken  scene  and 
said,  "Thank  you/' 

I  was  pretty  hot  at  the  Barrett  rebuke,  and  told  Ha- 
gen,  who  was  also  cross  about  it,  that  it  would  make  a 
fair  story  for  the  Saturday  Mirror.  That  night  during 
one  of  the  intermissions  Mr.  Barrett  thanked  me  for 
pushing  him  out  of  the  way,  explained  that  he  was  very 
nervous  and  his  irritable  remark  involuntary.  I  had 
no  difficulty  in  believing  this.  The  whole  plexus  of  events 
was  trying  on  everybody. 

During  the  day  there  had  been  a  conference  between 
the  stars,  their  manager  and  attorneys  on  one  hand,  and 
on  the  other  hand  Hamilton,  his  bondsmen  and  their 
attorneys.  This  conference  resulted  in  a  decision  to 
stand  by  the  guaranty  and  to  open  with  "Macbeth." 
There  was  no  dressing-room  in  which  anybody  could 
have  with  safety  disrobed,  and  no  ordinary  theatrical 
costume  would  have  kept  out  the  freezing  temperature 
of  the  building.  To  shut  out  drafts,  the  stage  was  boxed 
as  a  baronial  hall  with  a  set  ceiling.  Mr.  Booth  wore 
his  heaviest  costume,  a  robe  in  which  ordinarily  he  played 
Richelieu.  Barrett  as  Macduff  wore  a  long  quilted  gown 
which  had  served  in  "Francesca  da  Rimini."  Minna 
Gale  as  Lady  Macbeth  had  some  equally  warm  and 
equally  incongruous  attire.  After  the  first  act  of  the 
play  the  audience,  that  had  been  freezing  in  their  wraps 
— the  men  retaining  not  only  overcoats  but  hats — began 
to  move  toward  the  boxes  where  the  cannon  stoves  were. 
Those  already  near  these  furnaces  made  way  and  perish- 
ing ladies  row  by  row  approached  the  heat.  Men  stood 
in  the  outer  circle  stamping  their  feet.  After  two  or 
three  minutes  of  this  there  was  a  general  readjustment 
of  camp  chairs,  moving  from  their  alignments  toward 


these  thermal  centres  that  suggested  Birnam  Wood  on 
its  road  to  Dunsinane. 

Some  prudent  or  habitual  gentlemen  had  brought 
flasks  with  them.  Others  went  to  the  nearest  places  of 
supply,  and  the  close  of  the  intermission  took  on  a  con- 
vivial even  if  precautionary  color.  The  greatest  enthu- 
siasm of  the  night — not  excepting  Mr.  Booth's  reception 
— was  for  a  line  which  perhaps  in  all  the  previous  history 
of  "Macbeth"  had  never  called  for  more  than  a  giggle. 

In  the  third  scene  of  Act  Two  the  Porter,  roused  from 
his  slumber  by  the  knocking  at  the  gate,  says,  "But  this 
place  is  too  cold  for  hell."  This  was  greeted  with  a  laugh 
and  successive  rounds  of  applause,  and  then  recurrent 
ripples  as  the  audience  waited  and  congealed.  The  har- 
dier ones  stood  through  the  whole  play,  but  the  house 
was  half  empty  when  the  play  was  half  over. 

Through  the  balance  of  the  week  conditions  were  im- 
proved, but  it  was  weeks  before  the  house  was  a  finished 
theatre.  The  total  receipts  on  the  week  were  eleven 
thousand  dollars  short  of  the  company's  promised  share. 
The  manager  of  Booth  and  Barrett  properly  called  upon 
Hamilton's  bondsmen  for  their  guaranty,  and  our  weekly 
Mirror,  with  its  editorial  and  dramatic  department,  went 
into  the  general  liquidation. 

One  happening  during  that  editorial  incumbency  that 
closed  in  such  summary  fashion  is  worth  telling  as  a  coin- 
cidence. The  business  men  of  Leavenworth  had  wished 
to  have  something  written  about  their  section  that  would 
call  attention  to  it  and  yet  not  look  like  an  advertise- 
ment. I  wrote  a  story  which  they  approved  and  which 
carried  the  facts,  and  yet  which  seemed  to  be  a  bit  of 
romantic  fiction.  Under  an  arrangement  at  regular  space 
rates  it  had  been  printed  in  the  New  York  World,  and 
that  paper  had  sent  me  a  generous  commission  of  some- 


thing  over  a  hundred  dollars.  One  October  day  a  young 
man  brought  to  me  a  pen  manuscript  which  he  wished 
to  sell.  I  promised  to  read  it,  although  I  told  him  the 
Kansas  City  Mirror  was  not  buying  fiction.  After  a 
fortnight  he  came  again.  Ashamed  of  my  neglect,  I  read 
the  story  as  he  sat  there.  I  was  prepossessed  by  what 
I  thought  was  its  easy  introduction. 

As  I  read  on  I  said  to  myself,  "If  I  had  to  state  that 
case  that's  the  way  I  should  like  to  write  it." 

Another  paragraph  and  I  said:  "Well,  that's  the  way 
I  did  write  it." 

I  looked  hurriedly  through  the  script  and  asked  the 
young  man  if  he  was  the  author  of  the  story.  He  said 
he  was.  He  was  not  a  large  person,  and  behind  my  desk 
were  two  compositors  standing  at  their  cases  and  another 
working  on  the  stone. 

So  I  felt  courageous  enough  to  say  to  the  young  man, 
"You're  a  liar!" 

He  sprang  to  his  feet  with  fine  indignation.  I  repeated 
my  characterization  and  added:  "That  story 'was  printed 
on  Sunday,  May  i,  1887,  in  the  New  York  World,  under 
the  title  of  *A  Leaven  worth  Romance.'  ' 

The  fellow  was  so  astonished  that  he  could  only  gasp 
an  assent. 

I  said:  "If  you  will  go  home  to  the  paper  from  which 
you  copied  this  you'll  find  my  initials,  G.  T.,  at  the  bot- 
tom of  that  story." 

He  said  "Yes"  and  went  out,  dazed  at  the  mischance 
which  had  made  him  bring  to  an  obscure  person  sitting 
in  a  Western  office  a  yarn  he  had  copied  verbatim  from 
an  Eastern  daily,  only  to  discover  that  he  had  placed 
the  stolen  article  in  the  hands  of  its  author.  There  were 
ninety  million  other  citizens  of  the  United  States. 

Of  course  the  lines  of  communication  on  this  little 


planet  of  eight  thousand  miles  diameter  must  occasionally 
intersect  at  points  that  seem  supremely  significant;  and 
it  may  be  that  we  should  wonder  at  the  absence  rather 
than  the  occasional  presence  of  a  coincidence.  But  as 
they  have  their  interest,  I  would  like  to  jump  ahead  and 
tell  the  only  other  remarkable  one  that  is  in  my  own 
experience.  I  rehearsed  and  produced  a  play  called  "The 
Other  Girl"  in  1903  with  Lionel  Barrymore  at  the  Cri- 
terion Theatre  in  New  York.  It  was  in  three  acts.  Ef- 
fective ending  of  the  second  act  depended  upon  the  in- 
voluntary laughter  of  a  parson,  prompted  by  a  wink 
from  a  prize-fighter  who  was  in  the  room  with  him.  On 
the  opening  night  the  effect  fell  short.  I  had  to  leave 
the  next  day  on  the  steamer  Kroonland  for  Paris.  Walk- 
ing the  deck  of  this  boat  four  or  five  days  later  I  still  tried 
to  analyze  my  failure  at  that  point.  It  occurred  to  me 
that  certain  business  between  members  of  a  group  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  stage  had  made  a  stronger  ap- 
peal to  the  attention  of  the  audience  than  the  quiet  minis- 
ter and  prize-fighter  on  their  side  had  made,  and  I  men- 
tally kicked  myself  for  my  stupidity  in  not  discovering 
this.  I  went  at  once  to  the  wireless  room  and  sent  the 
following  telegram  to  Mr.  Charles  Frohman: 

"Have  the  kid  touch  the  parson  before  the  wink." 
Mr.  Frohman  rehearsed  this  business.    The  action  at- 
tracted the  attention  of  the  audience,  who  thereupon 
saw  the  wink  which  was  the  provocation  for  the  laugh- 
ter, and  all  that  I  had  hoped  for  was  secured. 

About  a  month  later  Mr.  Bainbridge  Colby  was  dining 
with  the  Thomases  in  their  apartment  in  the  Latin  Quar- 
ter. He  said:  "This  strange  thing  happened:  On  the 
steamer  Cedric,  when  I  was  crossing  last  month  on  my 
way  to  London,  I  was  in  the  wireless  room.  We  were 


a  day  out  from  New  York.  A  message  was  relayed  from 
the  Kroonland.  The  operator  was  Italian  and  a  little 
uncertain  with  English,  and  he  asked  me  if  I  thought  the 
message  could  be  correct.  It  was  from  you  to  Mr.  Froh- 
man,  and  read:  'Have  the  kid  touch  the  parson  before 
the  wink.'  I  told  the  operator  it  was  all  right  and  he 
transmitted  it  to  New  York." 

Aside  from  Mr.  Frohman  and  the  members  of  the 
company,  Mr.  Colby  was  the  only  person  on  earth  who 
could  have  given  that  answer  to  that  operator  out  on 
the  Atlantic. 

With  our  failure  to  get  the  company's  guaranty  on  the 
opening  of  the  Warder  Grand,  the  lease  of  the  opera- 
house  in  which  I  had  been  promised  a  share  was  forfeited, 
and  with  a  winter  fairly  set  in  I  was  in  a  city  where  I 
was  almost  a  stranger,  and  again  without  a  job. 

Friends  have  asked  why  in  this  emergent  situation  I 
did  not  try  to  recover  and  pick  up  the  offer  of  Mayor 
Nealy  and  his  banker  associates  to  install  me  in  owner- 
ship and  direction  of  the  Leavenworth  Standard.  But 
as  I  remember  it  the  thought  did  not  once  occur  to  me, 
my  ideas  were  so  definitely  turned  to  the  East  and  to 
the  theatre.  Except  for  the  fact  that  I  was  subsequently 
successful  in  that  field,  one  might  with  apparent  justice 
make  some  animadversions  upon  being  stage-struck. 
But  stage-struck  I  was  not;  neither  then  nor  afterward 
have  I  felt  any  insistent  wish  to  act.  Playing  was  a  means 
to  the  ultimate  acquirement  of  play-writing,  and  I  think 
it  worth  while  now,  with  whatever  weight  anything  I 
write  may  carry,  to  say  a  heartening  word  to  the  per- 
sistent young  man  in  the  neighborhood  of  thirty  years 
who,  despite  the  wishes  of  his  prudent  friends,  feels  a 
call  to  follow  his  private  bent. 


In  1863,  at  sixty  years  of  age,  Emerson  wrote  in  his 
journal:  "Tremendous  force  of  the  spring  which  we  call 
native  bias  .  .  .  whose  impulsion  reaches  through  all 
the  days,  through  all  the  years  and  keeps  the  old  man 
constant  to  the  same  pursuits  as  in  youth!"  Nearly 
twenty  years  before,  in  a  similar  mood,  he  had  written 
in  the  same  journal:  "Men  go  through  the  world,  each 
musing  on  a  great  fable,  dramatically  pictured  and  re- 
hearsed before  him.  If  you  speak  to  the  man  he  turns 
his  eyes  from  his  own  scene  and  slower  or  faster  en- 
deavors to  comprehend  what  you  say.  When  you  have 
done  speaking  he  returns  to  his  private  music." 

And  his  private  music  is  his  self-expression,  the  most 
important  function  in  this  personal  hypnosis  that  we 
call  life. 

After  a  few  days  of  uncertainty  I  began  work  for  a 
couple  of  weeks  as  the  artist  on  Willis  Abbott's  after- 
noon paper,  the  Kansas  City  News,  and  from  there  went 
as  the  resident  artist  to  the  Missouri  Republican  in  St. 

Mr.  Sothern  came  along  about  this  time  with  the 
promised  interview  concerning  "The  Burglar."  No 
fledgling  author  could  ask  for  a  more  complimentary 
opinion  than  Mr.  Sothern  had  of  the  play.  But  as  a 
star  he  felt  that  it  would  be  prejudicial  to  his  hopes  to 
undertake  a  drama  from  which  he  was  absent  during  the 
entire  second  act.  He  wanted  me  to  rewrite  it  so  that  he 
might  appear  in  that  section.  But  though  the  burglar 
was  out  of  the  second  act  physically  he  was  very  much 
in  it  as  problem  and  menace.  In  my  stubborn  insist- 
ence upon  the  script  as  written  at  that  time  I  left  my- 
self, as  far  as  theatrical  prospects  were  concerned,  still 
stranded  in  St.  Louis. 


One  other  notable  incident  for  me  during  that  time 
is  that  I  then  made  my  first  acquaintance  with  Colonel 
Henry  Watterson.  The  paper  wanted  a  picture  of  him. 
Marse  Henry  didn't  care  to  sit  for  a  sketch,  but  when 
I  saw  him  two  days  later  he  was  very  complimentary 
about  the  one  I  had  made  from  memory  after  my  talk 
with  him.  As  a  stunt  that  caused  our  mutual  acquaint- 
ance I  have  more  than  once  repeated  it  since  that  time. 

I  worked  steadily  on  the  Republican  from  the  end  of 
1887  until  August  of  1888.  The  time  was  filled  with  in- 
teresting experiences;  few  of  them,  however,  pertinent 
to  my  career  as  a  playwright,  although  my  duties  as 
artist  threw  me  now  and  then  into  touch  with  events 
that  were  dramatic.  In  the  mind  of  a  playwright  it  made 
a  grisly  front  scene  to  be  called  out  of  bed  at  two  o'clock 
in  the  morning  and  driven  hastily  to  the  levee,  and  with 
the  light  from  one  lamp  taken  from  the  side  of  the  hack 
that  had  conveyed  him  there  to  sit  astride  the  body  of 
some  murdered  roustabout  and  get  a  memorandum  sketch 
that  would  transfer  to  a  chalk  plate  in  time  for  the  morn- 
ing edition. 

I  suppose  it  was  my  exaggerated  enjoyment  of  the 
dramatic  element  in  any  happening  that  lent  zest  to  my 
good-by  to  the  Republican  and  to  the  newspaper  busi- 
ness. Charles  Knapp,  the  proprietor  of  the  paper,  was 
a  man  liked  by  all  the  employees.  Frank  O'Neill,  the 
editor,  was  a  promoted  reporter  who  had  deserved  his 
advancement.  A  new  proprietor  who  came  to  us  that 
summer  with  revolutionary  ideas,  none  of  which  I  recall 
as  subsequently  justified,  was  Mr.  Charles  H.  Jones,  a 
small,  emphatic,  laconic  person,  with  extraordinary  side- 
whiskers  and  an  entire  absence  of  the  personality  that 
appeals  to  the  Western  product.  He  changed  the  honored 


name  of  the  Missouri  Republican  to  the  St.  Louis  Republic 
and  started  in  upon  his  campaign  of  economy  and  re- 
trenchment. When  he  reached  the  art  department  he 
instructed  the  city  editor  to  tell  me  that  my  thirty  dol- 
lars a  week  had  been  cut  to  twenty-five. 

The  information  came  the  afternoon  of  a  day  which 
brought  a  letter  from  Will  Smythe  stating  that  Ariel 
Barney  offered  me  the  position  of  business  manager  in 
the  season  soon  to  begin,  with  a  young  actress  whom  he 
hoped  to  establish  as  a  star.  The  name  of  this  young 
person  was  Julia  Marlowe,  and  Barney  and  others  who 
had  seen  her  had  a  high  opinion  of  her  ability  and  a  firm 
belief  in  her  future.  I  was  therefore  able  to  say  to  the 
city  editor  that  instead  of  submitting  to  a  cut  of  five 
dollars  I  would  demand  a  raise  of  fifteen  if  I  stayed  on 
the  paper. 

This  did  not  indicate  a  wish  to  remain,  but  as  the  work 
on  the  paper  had  grown  the  management  had  engaged 
as  assistant  in  the  art  department  a  young  draftsman 
from  the  Washington  University  by  the  name  of  Paul 
Connoyer,  and  I  felt  that  a  Parthian  demand  for  an  in- 
crease of  salary  would  operate  as  a  defense  against  any 
assault  upon  Paul.  Connoyer  took  over  the  department 
when  I  left  and  they  got  some  man  to  help  him.  He 
later  came  to  New  York,  where  as  a  painter  of  landscapes 
and  street  scenes  he  took  high  rank  among  artists. 

At  that  time  the  St.  Louis  Baseball  Club,  owned  by 
Chris  Von  der  Ahe,  was  under  the  personal  management 
of  AI  Spink,  the  present  dean  of  sporting  writers  assisted 
by  George  Munson.  Munson  was  a  free  lance,  ready  to 
try  almost  anything,  and  in  his  experience,  which  ran  from 
newspaper  work  to  management  of  a  swimming  school, 
we  had  met  and  were  friends.  AI  Spink  had  a  Pullman 


car  with  twenty-four  berths  in  it  which  was  leaving  in 
two  days  for  New  York  with  the  ball  club.  Three  of 
these  berths  were  unoccupied.  He  gave  me  my  choice 
of  them,  and  I  left  St.  Louis  the  ostensible  historian  of 
that  party.  Railroad  fare  and  Pullman  to  New  York  in 
those  days  totalled  about  thirty  dollars.  It  exactly 
bridged  the  gap  from  journalism  to  management,  as 
my  duties  began  when  rehearsals  did. 

In  that  old  ball  club  I  had  several  friends.  One  still 
in  the  public  eye  was  Charles  A.  Comiskey,  or  as  he  was 
called  then,  Commy.  He  was  playing  first  base  and 
acting  as  captain  of  the  team.  Arlie  Latham,  probably 
the  greatest  fun  maker  in  the  history  of  professional 
baseball,  was  on  third.  Years  after  Latham  had  ceased 
to  play  ball  he  was  engaged  as  a  coach  because  of  his 
ability  to  entertain  grand  stand  and  bleachers.  This 
was  a  natural  gift  with  Latham,  and  its  exercise  was  irre- 
sistibly spontaneous.  The  Harrisburg  station  on  the 
Pennsylvania  Railroad  is  inclosed  at  its  west  end  by  an 
iron  fence  about  nine  feet  high,  separating  its  tracks  and 
platforms  from  the  streets.  That  same  fence,  or  one 
similar,  was  there  in  the  summer  of  1888.  Our  train 
made  the  usual  five  minutes'  stop.  Men  were  stretching 
their  legs  under  the  sheds  of  the  station.  Outside  this 
iron  fence  a  citizen  of  Harrisburg,  with  an  old-fashioned 
set  of  whiskers,  was  passing.  Latham  screamed  at  him, 
and  then  as  nearly  as  he  could  vocally  reproduce  the 
noise  he  dramatized  a  tornado,  theatrically  implying  in 
the  slang  of  the  day  that  the  wind  was  blowing. 

The  owner  of  the  whiskers  was  of  Celtic  origin.  He 
turned  upon  Latham  and  looked  helplessly  along  the 
fence  for  some  gateway  by  which  he  could  reach  him. 
None  was  there.  Latham,  thus  protected,  grabbed  the 


iron  bars  of  the  fence,  went  along  a  section  of  it  like  a 
caged  chimpanzee,  violently  shaking  the  bars  and  re- 
peating all  the  time  the  whizzing  noise  that  had  so  an- 
gered this  inoffensive  citizen.  Through  the  man's  anger 
there  shot  a  more  intelligent  gleam  and  he  started  to  run 
for  the  brick  station  house  itself.  Latham  made  a  dash 
for  the  train,  which  fortunately  pulled  out  as  the  bel- 
ligerent citizen  burst  past  the  ticket  taker  and  into  the 
inclosure.  A  witness  of  the  whole  performance  might 
have  called  Latham's  attack  unwarranted  hoodlumism, 
but  it  wasn't  that;  it  was  simple  exuberance  of  animal 
spirits,  and  very  much  the  kind  of  vitality  that  when 
the  offering  is  more  a  matter  of  personality  than  of  in- 
tellect finds  a  market  in  the  theatre.  Latham  himself 
had  a  successful  engagement  later  in  vaudeville,  after 
which  he  came  back  to  the  ball  field  as  a  coach. 

For  men  who  are  trying  to  write  for  the  theatre  and 
are  impatient  at  the  unavoidable  delays  it  is  worth  while 
to  take  stock  of  my  first  arrival  as  a  man  in  New  York. 
I  had  in  my  trunk  two  long  plays  and  five  or  six  short 
ones.  I  was  thirty-one  years  of  age  and  had  had  an  inti- 
mate acquaintance  and  relationship  with  the  theatre 
nearly  all  my  life.  I  had  played  many  years  as  an  ama- 
teur, three  or  four  years  as  the  occasional  member  of  a 
repertoire  company  in  the  legitimate,  and  had  more  than 
a  year  of  consecutive  travelling  with  a  company  in  which 
I  had  an  interest.  I  had  produced  four  plays  that  I  had 
written,  had  had  two  years  in  a  box-office  and  had  shared 
for  a  few  full  minutes  the  lease  of  a  theatre,  while  never 
losing  sight  of  dramatic  authorship  as  objective.  I  had 
refused  to  rewrite  a  play  for  so  promising  an  exponent 
as  Mr.  Sothern.  And  yet,  in  order  to  keep  in  touch  with 
the  business  and  do  something  that  would  occasionally 


put  me  at  the  producing  centre,  I  found  myself  in  a  forty- 
dollar  job  to  count  tickets  for  a  young  actress  upon  her 
first  trip  as  a  star. 

In  the  thirty-three  years  that  have  passed  since  that 
date  my  observation  has  built  up  the  opinion  that  the 
American  playwright  does  not  generally  make  better 
headway.  There  have  been  one  or  two  brilliant  excep- 
tions; but  as  a  rule  the  public  is  not  interested  in  a  man 
who  has  written  from  books,  and  to  write  from  life  re- 
quires that  some  time  should  be  spent  in  living  it.  If 
there  is  somewhat  in  that  statement  that  is  depressing 
it  is  more  than  offset  by  the  fact  that  hardly  anything 
happens  to  a  man  or  woman  during  this  probationary 
wait  that  is  not  directly  or  indirectly  serviceable  in  the 
playhouse.  Everything  is  fish  that  comes  to  that  pond. 


Julia  Marlowe,  our  young  star,  had  played  as  a  child. 
As  a  young  lady  she  had  been  carefully  coached  in  a  num- 
ber of  parts  by  Ada  Dow,  who  shortly  after  the  season 
of  which  I  write  became  the  wife  of  the  present  veteran 
actor,  Frank  Currier.  Miss  Marlowe  called  Miss  Dow 
Aunt  Ada.  Of  the  several  parts  in  which  she  was  pre- 
pared Miss  Marlowe  had  been  seen  only  in  "Parthenia," 
in  which  she  unquestionably  excelled  any  actress  that 
her  generation  remembered.  Colonel  Robert  G.  Inger- 
soll  had  seen  her  performance  in  this  part,  and  had  been 
moved  to  write  a  letter  of  such  high  praise  that  Mr.  Bar- 
ney had  sought  and  obtained  his  permission  to  have  it 
reproduced  on  his  large  printing.  Barney  as  advance 
agent  had  visited  St.  Louis  twice  while  I  was  at  Pope's. 
My  engagement  was  the  outcome  partly  of  the  acquaint- 
ance then  made.  He  had  with  him  as  adviser  an  ad- 
vance man,  Fred  Stinson,  who  had  conducted  more  than 
one  tour  for  Mme.  Helena  Modjeska. 

Stinson  was  very  wise  in  the  matter  of  arranging  legiti- 
mate repertoire  and  in  getting  public  attention  for  a 
female  star.  Barney  had  been  a  newspaper  man;  Stin- 
son was  himself  a  writer  with  an  ambition  to  do  plays. 
So  the  association  of  us  three  men  was  at  the  start  an 
agreeable  one.  Except  to  get  the  names  of  the  company 
and  be  told  the  salary  that  each  was  to  receive,  it  wasn't 
necessary  for  either  Barney  or  Stinson  to  lose  any  time 



on  my  theatrical  education.  With  all  the  duties  of  this 
position  I  was  familiar. 

In  St.  Louis  I  had  gone  with  Barney  to  the  critics  and 
more  than  once  helped  him  on  his  publicity.  Notwith- 
standing that  fact,  and  knowing  my  job,  I  was  compli- 
mented when  Barney  asked  me  to  participate  in  the 
councils  of  policy  with  him  and  Stinson.  There  was  a 
hitch  about  the  matter  to  go  upon  the  first  three-sheet. 
Barney  and  Stinson  were  comparing  adjectives  to  de- 
scribe the  supporting  company,  and  for  one  reason  or 
another  hesitating  over  all  the  trite  descriptions.  "Splen- 
did," "excellent,"  "distinguished,"  "adequate,"  had 
each  some  recommending  and  some  objectionable  fea- 

Happening  to  know  that  in  certain  sections  of  the 
country  there  had  been  some  regret  over  Mary  Ander- 
son's revisiting  her  old  territory  with  a  company  that 
was  exclusively  English,  I  suggested  dismissing  all  their 
adjectives  by  using  the  word  "American."  This  so 
caught  the  fancy  of  both  men  that  they  used  it  not  only 
to  describe  their  company  but  to  describe  their  star. 
There  was  an  implication  of  rivalry  about  it;  but  fine 
as  Mary  Anderson  had  been,  Barney  had  a  star  who 
would  stand  comparison,  however  invited.  All  the  parts 
that  Miss  Marlowe  played  that  year  I  had  seen  played 
by  other  actresses.  In  nearly  all  the  plays  I  had  played 
some  part  myself.  I  felt  qualified  to  form  an  opinion 
not  only  of  Miss  Marlowe's  work  but  of  the  business 
which  Miss  Dow  had  devised  for  the  other  members  of 
the  company,  and  to  which  she  held  them  with  an  in- 
flexibility relaxed  only  when  the  opinion  of  some  equally 
experienced  person,  such  as  Charles  Barron  or  Mary 
Shaw,  convinced  her  of  its  value. 


Julia  Marlowe  had  every  requisite  for  success  in  star 
parts  on  the  stage  that  a  girl  could  need — youth  and 
health,  with  their  attractiveness;  facial  and  physical 
beauty;  stature,  poise,  carriage,  voice,  diction,  proper 
pronunciation,  mobile  expression,  definite  and  graceful 
gesture  and  competent,  well-shaped,  responsive  hands. 
Her  mental  equipment  included  gayety,  hospitality  for 
humor,  self-reliance,  ready  emotions  under  fair  control, 
a  capacity  for  attention.  One  great  value  was  that  her 
beauty  of  face  was  of  the  kind  that  the  stage  enhances. 
It  is  not  unusual  for  a  parlor  beauty  to  be  lost  in  a  stage 
frame;  but  Marlowe's  features  were  of  a  scale  that  fitted 
that  larger  canvas.  This  harmonious  ampleness  of  fea- 
ture, the  bone  structure  underlying  it,  was  one  founda- 
tion of  her  voice,  then  as  now  the  best  woman's  speaking 
voice  on  the  American  or  English  stage.  I  had  heard 
Charlotte  Thompson  and  others  in  "The  Hunchback," 
but  none  who  by  sheer  variety  and  charm  of  tone  lifted 
from  mediocrity  and  made  memorable  such  lines  as  "  I've 
seen  the  snow  upon  a  level  with  the  hedge,  yet  there  was 
Master  Walter." 

As  a  beginner,  meeting  admiring  callers  in  her  hotel 
parlor  or  behind  the  scenes,  and  even  on  the  railway 
trains  with  the  company,  there  was  about  the  girl  a  slight 
self-consciousness,  a  willingness  to  look  to  Aunt  Ada  for 
moral  support,  that  was  altogether  girlish;  but  on  the 
stage  that  near-timidity  was  transmuted  into  an  arch- 
ness quite  devoid  of  embarrassment.  This  archness 
hovered  over  every  playful  line  and  inhalation — per- 
haps inhalation  especially,  as  inhalation  is  the  tide  of 
what  the  Scot  called  the  come-hither  influence. 

In  those  early  days,  watched  by  her  studious  support, 
it  was  a  question  how  much  of  her  effect  was  the  girl 


herself  and  how  much  the  imprint  of  her  instructress. 
Some  there  were  who  thought  that  a  servile  imitation 
and  obedience  were  the  full  depth  of  the  possession.  And 
in  that  first  year  this  belief  was  encouraged  somewhat 
by  Miss  Dow's  watchfulness  in  the  wings  and  frequent 
critical  comment  right  after  a  scene.  For  myself,  how- 
ever, not  unpractised  in  estimating  such  work,  and  with 
the  better  vantage  of  seeing  all  from  the  front,  there  was 
evident  an  exuberant  personality  of  Marlowe's  own,  a 
personality  thinking  and  implying  and  conveying  a  most 
bewitching  overlay  around  all  the  set  and  studied  busi- 
ness of  the  teacher.  Nobody  I  ever  saw  on  or  off  the 
stage  could  put  into  two  words  the  challenge  and  the 
retreat,  the  winsomeness,  the  temptation,  and  the  clean 
innocence  that  Marlowe,  as  she  sat  on  the  log  near  Or- 
lando, put  into  the  words:  "Woo  me." 

During  that  period  Miss  Julia  was  most  jealously 
guarded.  No  senorita  had  ever  a  sharper-eyed  duenna, 
and  I  thought  then  that  the  balcony  and  the  Forest  of 
Arden  were  both  gainers  because  of  that  background  of 

What  a  national  possession  a  generation  has  in  such 
a  woman  as  Marlowe !  What  a  change  could  be  wrought 
on  our  national  speech  if  one  such  exponent  might  be  in 
every  great  centre  where  the  girls  of  America  could  come 
under  her  repeated  spell. 

Besides  Stinson,  as  playwright,  there  were  in  that  first 
Marlowe  company  Mary  Shaw,  Edward  McWade,  Albert 
Bruning,  and  Dodson  Mitchell,  all  interested  in  play- 
writing,  and  all  still  prominently  before  the  public.  Miss 
Shaw  and  Bruning  were  wise  in  the  maxims  of  the  art. 
McWade  and  Mitchell  subsequently  became  skilled  and 
successful.  Mary  Shaw  was  easily  the  intellectual  centre 


of  that  theatrical  family,  not  only  concerning  things  of 
the  theatre  but  literature  in  general.  Miss  Shaw  had 
been  a  school-teacher  before  she  became  an  actress,  but 
had  not  served  at  it  so  long  that  she  in  any  way  tired  of 
giving  information.  She  had  also  been  the  leading  sup- 
port for  Modjeska,  which  equipped  her  with  many  of 
the  traditions  of  her  chosen  profession,  but  better  yet, 
as  far  as  her  companions  in  the  Marlowe  company  were 
concerned,  gave  her  a  fund  of  anecdote  that  made  that 
season  a  joy.  Mary's  particular  hero  as  a  racontense  was 
Maurice  Barrymore.  I  had  not  met  Barrymore  at  that 
time — did  not  meet  him  until  nearly  a  year  later;  but 
when  we  did  meet  I  felt  pretty  intimately  informed  of  his 
professional  and  private  career  through  the  stories  of 
this  generous  biographer. 

Albert  Bruning  is  among  the  prominent  players  of 
New  York  at  the  present  time.  Previous  to  that  Mar- 
lowe engagement  Bruning  had  played  Shakespeare  in 
German,  winning  considerable  praise  in  the  part  of  Ham- 
let, and  in  that  excellent  and  American  company  he  was 
a  notable  actor.  In  "Romeo  and  Juliet"  he  played  the 
part  of  Tybalt.  As  attractive  as  Juliet  was,  and  as  mag- 
netic as  Taber  was  in  Romeo,  and  as  Barron  was  in  the 
part  of  Mercutio,  when  Bruning  was  on  the  stage  as  Ty- 
balt he  carried  such  a  quiet  and  intense  air  of  menace 
that  he  was  the  centre  of  attention.  Theatregoers  of 
the  last  year  or  two  will  remember  the  fine  impression 
he  made  as  Polonius  to  Walter  Hampden's  Hamlet. 

The  first  time  we  put  up  "Romeo  and  Juliet,"  I  think 
in  Washington  City,  the  company  was  short  one  mem- 
ber for  its  long  cast.  An  actor  who  was  expected  from 
New  York  to  play  Benvolio  missed  the  train  that  would 
have  let  him  arrive  in  time  for  the  performance.  It  was 



too  late  to  change  the  bill,  and  at  Miss  Dow's  suggestion 
I  agreed  to  go  on  for  the  part  if  we  could  find  a  costume. 
One  member  lent  me  a  pair  of  tights,  another  a  pair  of 
shoes,  and  so  on.  I  definitely  remember  that  Frank 
Currier  furnished  the  doublet.  He  was  a  slighter  man 
than  I,  but  by  dint  of  compression  I  got  into  his  gar- 

Benvolio's  most  important  office  is  to  catch  Mercutio 
when  he  falls  wounded  by  Tybalt  in  their  duel.  The 
scene  went  remarkably  well  up  to  this  point,  but  when 
sturdy  Charley  Barron,  wounded,  dropped  into  my  arms, 
this  tight  doublet  of  Currier's  split  up  the  back  like  a 
roasted  chestnut,  and  with  a  ripping  noise  that  defied 
neglect  by  anybody  in  the  audience.  I  doubt  if  the  death 
of  Mercutio  ever  got  so  good  a  laugh. 

Charles  Barron  had  supported  the  greatest  actors  in 
the  American  theatre.  He  was  a  product  of  the  old  Bos- 
ton Museum  stock  and  had  been  at  times  a  star  himself. 
He  was  an  acceptable  /ngomar,  a  good  Mercutio,  a  fine 
Master  Walter,  and  an  excellent  Malvolio.  Few  actors 
of  his  day,  and  none  of  the  present,  had  better  diction 
on  the  stage;  but  in  private  discourse  he  was  singularly 
uneven,  at  times  almost  inaudible.  It  amused  the  other 
men  in  the  company  to  compare  notes  and  see  which  of 
them  had  Understood  most  of  some  speech  of  Barren's 
as  he  stood  with  a  group  on  the  street  corner  or  at  the 
stage  door,  mumbling  as  he  mouthed  his  tobacco  pipe 
and  emitting  now  and  then  some  staccato  explosive  that 
served  as  a  stepping-stone  through  the  maze  of  his  unin- 
telligible recital. 

Stout  Billy  Owen,  another  Modjeska  favorite,  was  at 
that  time  a  tower  of  strength  in  any  legitimate  company. 
When  he  played  Sir  Toby  and  Frank  Currier  was  Sir 


Andrew  Ague-Cheek,  with  Barren's  Malvolio,  Taber's 
Duke,  and  young  Ed  McWade — the  best  double  Miss 
Marlowe  ever  had  to  her  Viola — playing  Sebastian,  with 
Mary  Shaw  and  Emma  Hinckley  in  her  other  women 
roles,  the  public  was  offered  about  as  good  a  cast  of  ac- 
tors as  America  gets  at  any  time. 

Robert  Taber,  our  leading  man,  had  been  a  Sargent 
pupil  and  had  learned  his  business  with  Modjeska  and 
Charles  Coghlan.  When  he  had  been  with  Modjeska  the 
leading  man  had  been  Maurice  Barrymore,  and  con- 
sciously or  unconsciously  Taber's  leads  with  Marlowe 
strongly  followed  Barrymore.  It  must  be  said  that  he 
could  not  have  found  a  better  model.  Taber  came  of 
fine  family.  His  sister,  who  survives  him,  is  the  wife 
of  Henry  Holt,  the  publisher.  He  had  had  a  good  edu- 
cation and  fine  associates.  While  I  was  with  the  Mar- 
lowe company  he  was  my  nearest  friend  among  its  mem- 
bers. Taber  liked  a  good  laugh,  but  his  bent  was  essen- 
tially serious.  His  happiest  hours  were  after  the  play, 
when  Miss  Shaw  would  let  him  and  me  have  supper  in 
her  room,  while  Rob  persuaded  himself  and  me — per- 
haps rightly — that  he  was  really  discussing  philosophy. 
I  would  not  doubt  it  now  but  for  memory  of  Mary's 

When  Rob  and  I  were  alone  he  talked  much  of  the 
star  for  whom  in  that  first  season  he  protested  positive 
dislike  and  fortified  his  feeling  by  many  minute  fault- 
findings. I  was  some  fourteen  years  older  than  the  girl 
and  a  good  half  dozen  older  than  Rob.  The  phrase  "pro- 
tective coloring"  was  then  not  yet  invented,  but  I  was 
not  astonished  some  two  years  later  to  read  of  the  Taber- 
Marlowe  marriage. 

We  were  to  leave  Trenton  one  morning  for  some  place 


farther  south  where  we  had  a  guaranty — and  needed  it. 
The  only  train  that  would  make  our  connection  left  at 
ten  o'clock  in  the  morning.  Miss  Marlowe,  Miss  Dow, 
their  maid,  Frank  Currier,  and  myself,  who  were  to  go 
to  the  station  in  the  carriage,  met  in  the  hotel  lobby  at 
the  proper  time.  After  a  wait  of  a  minute  or  two,  when 
the  carriage  didn't  appear,  we  telephoned  the  liveryman, 
who  said  that  the  order  had  been  for  the  same  hour  in 
the  evening,  which  was  absurd.  His  rig  wasn't  ready 
and  there  wasn't  time  to  get  it. 

Currier  and  I  gathered  up  the  baggage  and  our  mixed 
quintet  went  to  the  street.  No  passenger  conveyance 
was  in  sight  anywhere.  To  miss  the  guaranty  in  that 
next  town  meant  disaster.  I  stopped  a  man  who  was 
driving  a  covered  milk  wagon.  After  loss  of  much 
precious  time  he  declined  to  consider  the  proposition 
that  I  made.  We  moved  on  to  the  corner,  hoping  to 
find  one  more  willing.  On  the  side  street  at  the  inter- 
section stood  two  large  furniture  vans  with  pictures  of 
George  Washington  on  their  sides  and  large  letters  an- 
nouncing their  ability  for  long  or  short  hauls  with  furni- 
ture. No  drivers  were  in  sight,  but  a  shout  into  the 
saloon  on  the  corner  produced  one.  I  asked  him  what 
he  would  charge  to  take  the  five  of  us  to  the  station, 
about  a  mile  away.  He  said  two  dollars.  I  promised 
him  five  if  he  got  there  in  four  minutes. 

He  got  onto  his  box.  Currier  and  I  threw  the  luggage 
in  over  the  lowered  tail  gate,  helped  the  two  ladies  and 
the  maid  in  after  and  climbed  in  ourselves.  It  was  al- 
most a  straight  run  to  the  station.  Certain  obstacles  in 
the  street  necessitated  our  crossing  the  car  tracks  once 
or  twice,  in  which  manoeuvres  the  greatest  living  Juliet 
ricocheted  between  the  thin  mattresses  that  lined  the 
two  sides  of  the  van. 


As  we  neared  the  station  we  saw  one  of  our  company 
pleading  with  a  nervous  conductor  who  was  running  his 
left  thumb  over  the  heavy  crystal  of  his  watch  after  the 
manner  of  railroad  men.  Currier  and  I  whistled  shrilly, 
the  actor  saw  us  and  explained  to  the  conductor.  A  min- 
ute later  we  swung  tail  end  to  the  railroad  track  like  an 
emergency  ambulance  and  the  day  was  saved  as  Currier 
cried,  "Out,  you  baggage !"  The  train  was  rocking  under 
way  as  we  went  down  the  aisle  to  our  seats,  the  sym- 
pathetic company  full  of  questions  to  the  agitated  ladies. 

Currier,  the  first  man  coming  after,  explained,  still  in 
mock  heroics,  "We  had  to  drag  her  on  a  hurdle  thither." 

How  often  the  human  mind  accepts  intellectually  a 
fact  long  before  ever  dramatically  or  emotionally  ac- 
quiring it.  Thereafter  for  the  much-amused  Marlowe 
the  angry  Capulet  had  a  magnified  reality  when  he 
scolded  the  cringing  Juliet: 

"Thank  me  no  thankings,  nor  proud  me  no  prouds, 
But  fettle  your  fine  joints  'gainst  Thursday  next, 
To  go  with  Paris  to  Saint  Peter's  church, 
Or  I  will  drag  thee  on  a  hurdle  thither. 
Out,  you  green-sickness  carrion  1    Out  you  baggage ! " 

In  the  theatre,  as  far  back  as  I  remember,  when 
salaries  were  paid  the  old  actors  called  it  the  ghost  walk- 
ing. Our  first  old  man  was  a  youngish  actor  named 
Jimmy  Cooper.  At  that  time  it  was  customary  to  pay 
salaries  Tuesday  night.  One  Tuesday,  however,  the 
money  had  to  be  conserved  to  move  the  company.  As 
I  neared  the  door  of  Cooper's  dressing-room  on  my  way 
back-stage  he  watched  with  hopeful  eyes  my  coming. 
When  on  the  return  trip  I  again  passed  him  without 


leaving  the  pay  envelope  I  heard  him  quote  in  melan- 
choly tone  Horatio's  line: 

"But,  even  then,  the  morning  cock  crew  loud; 
And  at  the  sound  it  shrunk  in  haste  away, 
And  vanish'd  from  our  sight." 

The  average  man  must  always  envy  the  well-stocked 
memory  of  the  cultivated  player.  What  a  delightful 
element  in  the  bright  talk  of  John  Drew,  for  example, 
are  the  pat  quotations  that  sparkle  through  it  from  its 
remembered  backing. 

Ariel  Barney,  proclaimed  on  the  bills  as  presenting 
Julia  Marlowe,  had  business  ability.  Marlowe  had 
genius.  There  came  a  time  in  the  association  of  these 
two  factors  when  success  impaired  Barney's  sense  of 
proportion.  The  persons  who  felt  the  consequence  of 
this  misconception  most  were  Stinson  and  myself,  who 
had  been  on  intimate  and  friendly  relations  with  him. 
I  think,  however,  that  I  would  have  gone  through  the 
other  two  months  needed  to  finish  the  season  if  it  hadn't 
been  for  a  trick  hat. 

The  American  theatre  was  less  a  business  and  more 
of  an  institution  thirty-three  years  ago,  and  Marlowe's 
audiences  in  the  cities  were  the  nearest  in  formality  to 
those  of  the  grand  opera.  Therefore  in  the  cities  her 
business  staff  dressed.  I  had  a  fur  collar  and  this  accor- 
dion hat  as  I  stood  at  the  door.  One  form  of  Barney's 
solicitude  for  the  star  was  to  carry  to  her  dressing-room 
door  a  bottle  of  Guinness's  stout.  This  ministration  didn't 
occur  often,  and  when  it  did  Miss  Marlowe  didn't  like 
the  tonic.  On  the  first  night  of  our  second  engagement 
in  Philadelphia  the  lobby  was  filled  with  Marlowe's  local 


In  one  group  were  Colonel  McCIure,  the  publisher, 
and  two  of  his  friends.  Barney,  who  was  tossing  a  silver 
quarter  in  his  hand,  at  a  break  in  their  conference  called 
to  me  at  the  door,  "Thomas,  Thomas!"  Ordinarily  we 
spoke  to  each  other  by  our  first  names.  In  the  surround- 
ings referred  to  and  under  my  silk  hat  the  peremptory 
"Thomas!"  had  an  office-boy  sound.  I  joined  him. 
With  some  display  and  without  leaving  his  friends,  Bar- 
ney extended  the  quarter  and  said,  "  I  want  to  get  a  bot- 
tle of  stout  for  Miss  Marlowe." 

I  heard  myself  answering,  "I'm  a  stranger  in  Phila- 
delphia, Mr.  Barney,  but  if  I  were  you  I'd  try  a  saloon." 

Colonel  McCIure  and  his  friends  laughed. 

The  day  I  got  back  to  St.  Louis  out  of  a  job  again  I 
called  on  John  Norton  at  the  Grand.  He  was  talking 
to  John  Ritchie,  who  had  formerly  managed  Mrs.  D. 
P.  Bowers,  and  was  then  handling  the  thought  reader, 
Washington  Irving  Bishop. 

Norton  said  to  Ritchie,  "Why,  here's  your  man!" 

It  was  Tuesday.  Bishop,  who  was  having  a  week's 
engagement  in  St.  Louis  at  Exposition  Hall,  had  to  open 
the  following  Monday  in  Minneapolis,  and  his  advance 
agent  had  left  him  without  notice.  I  went  that  eve- 
ning to  see  Bishop's  work.  It  was  astonishing,  and  as  I 
came  to  be  more  and  more  familiar  with  it  afterward 
it  made  upon  me  a  profound  impression.  It  deserves 
to  be  described  at  length;  but  as  I  am  trying  to  write 
here  only  that  which  affected  my  ultimate  vocation,  I 
shall  tell  but  two  stories  indicative  of  his  peculiar  power. 
In  other  articles  not  included  in  these  remembrances  I 
hope  to  write  special  and  extended  accounts  of  psychic 
phenomena.  But  I  explain  my  wish  for  brevity  if  not 
my  achievement  of  it  here. 


The  Bishop  experiment  that  impressed  me  most  that 
first  night  was  his  finding  while  blindfolded  an  article 
carried  from  the  stage  and  hidden  somewhere  in  that 
vast  audience.  To  do  this  the  volunteer  who  had  hid- 
den the  article  down  a  side  aisle  was  making  his  second 
trip  from  the  stage  behind  Bishop,  who  was  eagerly  drag- 
ging him.  The  volunteer,  determined  to  give  no  help 
to  the  blindfolded  telepathist,  was  not  only  hanging 
back  but  was  looking  at  the  ceiling  of  framed  glass  in 
a  refusal  to  indicate  in  any  manner  the  location  sought. 

Near  the  hiding-place  Bishop  halted,  and  after  a  fret- 
ful waver  turned  to  the  audience  and  cried:  "This  man 
is  not  complying  with  conditions.  He  is  not  thinking 
of  the  place  where  this  article  is  hidden.  All  that  I  get 
from  his  mind  is  a  picture  of  skylights."  In  a  spirit  of 
fairness  the  audience  burst  into  a  round  of  applause, 
regarding  that  reading  by  Bishop  as  more  revealing  than 
the  finding  of  the  article,  which  immediately  followed. 

On  Wednesday  Bishop  was  ill.  Ritchie  and  I  sat  by 
his  bed  for  our  interview.  I  engaged  to  leave  town  that 
day  as  his  advance  man.  I  took  with  me  nothing  but 
some  newspaper  clippings.  There  wasn't  a  sheet  of  paper 
or  a  single  lithograph  or  anything  of  the  usual  equip- 
ment of  the  man  ahead.  Ordinarily  for  a  visiting  attrac- 
tion in  a  city  like  Minneapolis  the  advertising  paper  is 
on  the  walls  on  Thursday  morning.  The  advertisements 
are  in  the  newspapers,  and  such  space  as  the  dramatic 
men  are  willing  to  accord  the  agent  has  already  been 
partly  used.  None  of  these  favorable  conditions  was 

I  have  had  occasion  to  say  before  that  I  wish  I  might 
write  some  of  these  stories  without  letting  everybody 
know  what  a  devil  of  a  fellow  I  am.  But  the  experience 


I  am  about  to  tell  would  lose  whatever  value  it  has  if  I 
depressed  it  below  the  level  of  simple  statement.  I  told 
it  once  in  New  York  in  the  middle  '90*8,  when  as  a  more 
or  less  arriving  playwright  I  was  the  guest  of  an  organiza- 
tion of  theatrical  business  men,  predominantly  advance 
agents,  numbering  about  two  hundred.  Their  taking  it 
as  qualifying  for  honorary  membership  is  the  most  ex- 
pert rating  I  can  quote  to  justify  my  belief  that  it  is 
worth  telling. 

At  St.  Paul,  a  half  hour  before  my  arrival  at  Minne- 
apolis, about  eleven  o'clock  on  Thursday  morning,  I  got 
a  Minneapolis  paper  in  order  to  see  what  opposition 
Bishop  would  have  in  that  city.  The  front  page  was 
covered  with  sensational  accounts  of  preparations  for  a 
double  hanging  to  occur  the  next  day,  and  extended  re- 
prints of  stories  of  the  crime,  the  trial,  and  futile  efforts 
for  rehearing  and  for  executive  clemency.  Two  boys 
named  Barrett,  employed  by  a  street  railway,  had  been 
convicted  of  the  murder  of  a  passenger  at  a  terminus  of 
the  line.  One  claimed  to  be  innocent;  the  testimony  of 
his  brother  supported  him.  It  was  plain  that  in  regular 
course  Friday's  paper  would  be  filled  with  this  same  kind 
of  news,  and  that  it  would  be  Saturday  or  Sunday  before 
the  papers  would  print  anything  about  Bishop  with  a 
chance  of  attention.  The  biggest  possible  distraction 
was  the  sensational  hanging.  To  be  noticed  at  all  we 
would  have  to  get  on  the  band  wagon;  have  to  go  with 
the  hanging  and  not  against  it. 

Arriving  in  Minneapolis,  I  had  a  cab  driver  take  me 
to  the  principal  evening  paper.  I  asked  the  city  editor 
if  there  was  anything  new  in  the  matter  of  the  Barrett 

He  said,  "Nothing." 


Would  he  print  any  news  concerning  them?  If  it  was 
news,  yes.  I  said  I  had  a  letter  to  the  governor  of  the 
State  from  Washington  Irving  Bishop,  the  thought- 
reader,  asking  him  to  postpone  the  execution  of  the  boy 
claiming  to  be  innocent  until  Bishop  could  reach  Minne- 
apolis on  Sunday,  when  he  would  agree  to  read  the  mind 
of  the  young  man,  reenact  the  crime,  and  define  the  boy's 
association  with  it.  The  editor  asked  for  the  letter. 
Searching  through  my  pockets,  I  was  unable  to  find  it. 
Search  through  my  bag  also  failing  to  produce  it,  I  told 
him  that  it  must  be  in  my  trunk,  but  that  having  origin- 
ally written  it  I  could  accurately  reword  it. 

When  the  afternoon  paper  appeared  its  first  page  car- 
ried a  ten-line  scare-head  beginning,  "Hope  for  the  Bar- 
rett Boys !  Thought -Reader  Washington  Irving  Bishop 
Asks  a  Stay  of  Execution."  And  then  followed  more 
descriptive  lines,  scaling  down  to  the  written  introduc- 
tion and  a  copy  of  the  letter  I  had  composed;  also  the 
important  fact  that  Bishop  was  to  arrive  Sunday  and 
that  his  arrival  was  preparatory  to  his  week's  engage- 
ment at  the  theatre.  That  afternoon  all  Minneapolis 
had  the  information.  I  went  to  the  jail,  explained  my 
call  to  the  captain  of  the  police,  was  permitted  to  see 
the  two  boys,  and  convinced  them  they  had  little  to  lose 
in  permitting  this  experiment  by  Bishop. 

I  wish  to  say  here  that  my  confidence  was  based  upon 
the  fact  that  Bishop  in  Portland  had  made  a  similar  visit 
to  a  criminal's  cell  and  dramatized  his  crime.  Both  boys 
were  glad  to  sign  what  I  set  down  for  them,  which  for 
purposes  of  brevity  and  dramatic  value  read  simply: 
"We  are  willing  to  wait." 

When  I  reached  the  office  after  leaving  their  cell  in 
the  jail  I  was  confronted  by  a  dignified,  martial-looking 


man  who  as  soon  as  the  captain  indicated  me  opened 
fire.  He  knew  the  object  of  my  call;  thought  I  should 
be  ashamed  of  myself  for  trying  to  play  upon  the  hopes 
of  these  two  boys  in  order  to  get  publicity  for  a  show- 
man. I  was  able  quite  truthfully  to  deny  this  as  my 
sole  purpose,  because  I  had  then  and  still  have  a  belief 
that  Bishop  would  have  made  good  on  a  test.  But  the 
attorney  interrupted  with  a  loud  "Rot!  Remember 
that  you  are  not  talking  now  to  two  poor,  ignorant  boys, 
but  to  an  attorney-at-Iaw." 

I  said:  "General,  my  knowledge  of  you  as  an  attorney 
is  confined  to  the  records  of  this  case.  As  both  your 
clients  are  condemned  to  death,  you  must  excuse  me 
for  not  being  impressed." 

The  two  or  three  reporters  followed  me  to  the  door 
in  order  to  get  the  line  right  for  the  morning  papers. 

From  the  jail  I  went  to  the  Capitol  in  St.  Paul  and 
handed  a  copy  of  the  letter  to  the  governor,  told  him  of 
the  Portland  experiment,  and  dilated  upon  Bishop's 
ability.  He  was  considerate  and  non-committal. 

The  regular  edition  of  the  morning  papers  carried  full 
reports  of  all  I  have  told,  and  when  the  Barrett  boys  were 
hanged  some  two  hours  after  these  early  editions  extras 
issued  beginning  with  the  statement  that  the  drop  had 
fallen  at  eight  minutes  after  six.  In  these  extra  editions 
the  proposal  and  appeal  of  Bishop,  the  scenes  at  the  jail, 
and  the  governor's  declination  were  included.  The  mat- 
ter had  been  telegraphed  to  St.  Louis  also,  because  I 
received  a  wire  from  Ritchie: 

"Good  work.    Your  salary  is  one  hundred  dollars." 

This  was  a  lift  of  twenty-five. 

Bishop  arrived  on  time  and  we  had  a  sensational  open- 


The  other  example  that  I  wish  to  report  of  Bishop's 
work  is  worth  while,  as  an  attempt  to  repeat  it  that 
spring  in  New  York  resulted  in  his  death.  We  played 
one  night  in  Jefferson  City,  Missouri.  Honorable  David 
R.  Francis,  recently  United  States  ambassador  to  Russia, 
was  then  governor.  Mike  Fanning,  already  referred  to, 
was  his  secretary.  The  governor,  who  was  unable  to 
come  to  the  theatre,  sent  an  invitation  to  Bishop,  Ritchie, 
and  me  to  take  supper  at  the  mansion.  Besides  the  five 
men  named,  there  was  present  only  the  governor's  sister, 
Miss  Francis.  After  supper,  when  the  governor  wished 
to  see  a  demonstration,  Bishop  asked  him  to  go  alone 
to  his  library  and  select  a  word  from  any  book.  When 
the  governor  returned  we  all  followed  him  again  into  the 
library.  Bishop  went  in  an  ordinary  walk  to  the  proper 
bookcase,  took  down  without  hesitation  the  proper  book 
— there  were  perhaps  two  thousand  in  the  room — opened 
this  heavy  law  volume,  turned  without  hesitation  to  the 
proper  page,  went  down  the  page,  put  his  finger  upon  a 
certain  word. 

Governor  Francis  said,  "That's  it!    That's  it!" 

The  whole  proceeding  occupied  but  little  more  time 
than  I  have  taken  in  its  dictation. 

A  few  days  thereafter  Ritchie,  Bishop,  and  I  went  to 
New  York.  Bishop  and  J.  Levy,  the  great  cornetist, 
had  met  and  agreed  upon  a  joint  tour  for  the  following 
season.  Ritchie  and  I  were  to  be  equally  interested.  It 
looked  like  a  good  business  proposition.  The  Sunday 
night  after  our  arrival  in  New  York  Bishop  was  a  guest 
at  a  Lambs  Club  Gambol.  He  repeated  this  exhibition 
that  I  have  described.  Doctor  J.  A.  Irwin,  a  member, 
came  in  after  midnight,  was  sceptical  about  what  he  had 
heard,  urged  Bishop  to  repeat  that  test  or  perform  one 


similar,  and  although  Bishop  had  been  cautioned  against 
overwork  of  this  kind  by  his  physicians,  he  repeated  it 
successfully  and  fell  into  a  cataleptic  fit. 

On  Broadway  the  next  day  a  man  said,  "Your  star 
is  sick  at  the  Lambs." 

I  found  Bishop  in  a  little  hall  bedroom  on  an  iron  cot, 
where  he  had  been  for  twelve  hours,  a  tiny  electric  bat- 
tery buzzing  away  with  one  wet  electrode  over  his  heart 
and  the  other  in  his  right  hand.  He  was  unconscious. 
Two  doctors  sat  smoking  in  the  adjoining  room,  tired 
with  their  watch  of  the  night.  I  looked  at  the  hand- 
some face  of  Bishop  and  sat  beside  him  for  some  min- 
utes. Although  he  was  to  every  appearance  dead,  a 
deeper  solemnity  suddenly  came  over  his  face.  I  stepped 
to  the  doorway. 

"  I  think  there's  a  change  in  your  patient,  doctors." 

They  came  into  the  room  and  said  at  once,  "He's 

In  half  an  hour  I  was  on  the  way  to  Philadelphia  to 
break  the  news  to  his  wife.  Five  hours  later  I  was  back 
in  New  York  with  Mrs.  Bishop. 

With  Bishop  dead,  I  was  again  out  of  work,  this  time 
in  New  York.  Will  Smythe  was  also  there  and  our  meet- 
ing, together  with  the  fact  that  Maurice  Barrymore, 
who  had  just  closed  a  highly  successful  engagement  in 
"Captain  Swift"  at  the  Madison  Square  Theatre,  was 
willing  to  undertake  a  summer  performance  of  "The 
Burglar,"  embarked  us  all  upon  the  production  of  my 
first  four-act  play  in  the  East. 



In  the  early  summer  of  1889,  finding  myself  in  New 
York  and  unemployed,  I  was  glad  to  accept  the  offer 
of  Mr.  William  G.  Smythe,  who  had  associated  himself 
with  another  young  manager  named  Charles  Matthews, 
to  produce  a  four-act  play,  "The  Burglar,"  which  I  had 
built  up  from  the  sketch  "Editha's  Burglar."  Maurice 
Barry  more  had  just  closed  his  engagement  at  the  Madi- 
son Square  Theatre  in  a  successful  run  of  Haddon  Cham- 
bers' Australian  play,  "Captain  Swift." 

Barrymore  at  that  time  was  not  only  the  matinee  idol 
but  was  the  favorite  leading  man  of  most  of  the  theatre- 
going  men  of  New  York.  My  first  meeting  with  him — 
in  fact,  my  first  identifying  sight  of  him — was  in  an  office 
on  the  second  floor  of  a  converted  dwelling  on  Broadway 
near  Thirty-first  Street,  where  Smythe  and  Matthews 
had  desk-room.  Will  Smythe  introduced  us. 

As  this  smiling,  keen-eyed,  handsome,  athletic  fellow 
shook  hands  with  me  and  looked  me  over  as  critically 
as  I  was  regarding  him,  he  said:  "Somewhat  of  a  husky, 
eh?"  and,  still  holding  my  right  hand,  jabbed  in  playful 
burlesque  ponderousness  at  my  ribs  with  his  left.  As  I 
instinctively  stopped  him  he  added:  "Know  something 
about  that,  do  you?"  I  have  seen  boys  of  ten  begin 

acquaintance  in  similar  pretense. 



That  meeting  characterized  the  intercourse  between 
us  that  covered  the  next  twelve  years  or  more — the  last 
of  his  active  life.  He  had  an  army  of  friends,  but  that 
during  that  final  period  I  was  the  nearest  to  him  I  believe 
none  informed  will  dispute.  During  that  time  he  played 
in  six  pieces  of  mine,  "The  Burglar,"  "A  Man  of  the 
World,"  "Reckless  Temple,"  "Alabama,"  "Colonel  Car- 
ter," and  "New  Blood,"  his  parts  in  all  but  the  first  two 
being  written  for  him. 

I  never  saw  Harry  Montague,  but  I  have  seen  numer- 
ous portraits  of  him.  All  the  other  popular  idols  of  the 
American  theatre  from  1880  to  1900  I  saw  in  person. 
Barrymore  was  easily  the  finest-looking  and  best-carried 
man  of  them  all.  His  features  were  in  drawing  almost 
identical  with  those  of  his  son  Jack,  with  the  difference 
that  for  Jack's  poetical  expression  and  fibre  the  father 
had  the  challenge  and  the  sturdiness  of  a  Greek  gladiator. 
Physically  he  was  five  feet  eleven  inches  tall,  with  a  shoul- 
der breadth  accentuated  by  the  smallness  of  his  head, 
and  weighed  about  one  hundred  and  seventy  pounds. 
In  romantic  costume  or  in  evening  dress  on  the  stage  he 
had  the  grace  of  a  panther.  On  the  street  or  in  the  club 
or  coffee-house  he  was  negligent  and  loungy  and  deplor- 
ably indifferent  to  his  attire.  In  the  theatre  a  queen 
could  be  proud  of  his  graceful  attention.  Outside,  a  prize- 
fighter or  a  safe-blower  was  of  absorbing  interest  to  him 
unless  some  savant  was  about  to  discuss  classical  litera- 
ture or  French  romance. 

At  that  time  the  stationers'  and  jewellers'  windows 
displayed  silver  frames  containing  photographs  of  him 
as  "Captain  Swift"  in  a  dress  suit,  standing  in  a  con- 
servatory, holding  in  his  hands  a  saucer  and  demi-tasse 
from  which  his  attention  had  just  been  sharply  distracted. 


Some  observer,  Wilton  Lackaye,  I  think,  said  not  long 
ago  that  Barrymore  in  transmitting  his  traits  had  defi- 
nitely separated  two  personal  and  principal  character- 
istics. The  teacup  quality  he  had  bequeathed  to  Jack 
and  the  prize-fighting  excellence  had  gone  to  Lionel. 
There  is  enough  truth  in  the  comment  to  justify  it,  al- 
though both  the  boys  are  much  more  protean  than  it 

Mentally  Barrymore  was  capable  of  interest  in  the 
most  abstruse  questions,  but  as  far  as  I  was  qualified 
to  judge  he  did  not  care  to  seem  profound.  He  was  vastly 
more  amused  in  surfaces,  but  to  the  depth  that  facts 
and  theories,  forces,  events  and  expression  in  all  forms 
did  interest  him  his  was  the  quickest,  most  alert,  the 
most  articulate,  the  wittiest,  and  most  graceful  intel- 
ligence that  I  ever  knew. 

Once,  describing  to  me  a  fight  between  a  pet  mongoose 
that  he  owned  and  a  cat,  he  said:  "All  you  saw  was  an 
acrobatic  cat  and  a  halo  of  mongoose." 

The  line  could  have  been  paraphrased  to  describe  any 
tilt  in  repartee  in  which  I  ever  heard  Barry  himself  take 
part.  And  yet  I  never  heard  him  speak  a  line  that  left 
a  scar.  It  is  hard  to  quote  some  of  them  and  convey 
this  conviction,  but  his  smile  and  manner,  true  declara- 
tions of  his  intent,  made  the  most  acid  speeches  amiable. 

I  was  delighted,  of  course,  to  have  him  chosen  for  the 
lead  in  my  first  big  play  in  the  East.  These  young  man- 
agers were  considerate  of  my  wishes  in  getting  the  entire 
cast.  Other  prominent  artists  engaged  were  Emma  V. 
Sheridan,  who  had  been  playing  leading  business  for 
Richard  Mansfield;  Sydney  Drew,  then  in  his  early 
twenties,  but  already  a  favorite  as  a  comedian — he  had 
been  featured  in  a  play  of  Gillette's  and  was  regarded  as 


starring  material  by  more  than  one  manager;  John  T. 
Sullivan,  a  prominent  leading  man  for  second  business; 
and  Gladys  Rankin,  the  beautiful  daughter  of  McKee 
Rankin.  I  went  into  the  company  to  play  the  old  man 
and  to  understudy  Barrymore  in  the  part  of  the  burglar. 
Willie  Seymour,  later  the  general  stage-manager  for 
Charles  Frohman,  was  engaged  to  rehearse  the  play. 
Mr.  Seymour  was  an  experienced  producer — as  a  matter 
of  fact,  had  been  in  the  theatre  all  his  life,  having  gone 
on  as  a  child  with  Edwin  Forrest  in  "Metamora." 

The  managers  had  little  money  and  were  staking  all 
on  our  trial  in  Boston.  As  a  matter  of  economy  the  or- 
ganization was  taken  there  by  the  Fall  River  boat.  No- 
body in  the  company  had  any  important  money.  Salaries 
at  that  time  were  not  what  they  are  to-day.  The  largest 
on  that  list  was  Barrymore's  at  two  hundred  dollars. 

On  the  palatial  Plymouth  at  the  dinner-table  we  sat 
down  somewhat  a  family  group.  Barrymore  took  the 
head  of  the  table,  with  Miss  Sheridan  to  his  left.  The 
rest  of  the  company  strung  along  on  the  sides.  There 
arose  somehow  a  pretended  dispute  over  the  honor  of 
ordering  dinner  for  Miss  Sheridan. 

Drew  said:   "We'll  toss  for  it." 

A  cube  of  sugar  was  marked  on  its  six  sides  like  an 
ordinary  die  and  given  to  Sydney  for  the  first  throw. 
It  was  an  anxious  moment,  the  comedy  of  it  irrepressible 
to  his  temperament,  and  as  he  shook  the  cube  in  his  hand 
and  looked  at  the  other  derisive  men  before  throwing 
he  said,  "High  man  out."  Barrymore  had  to  remind 
him  that  the  stake  was  the  honor  of  ordering  dinner  for 
a  lady,  but  Sydney's  line  had  revealed  the  situation. 
Before  all  had  finished  throwing,  Joe  Holland,  who  was 
with  another  company  on  the  same  boat,  noticing  the 


hilarity  of  our  party,  joined  us  and  wanted  to  know  what 
the  gambling  was  for.  Sydney,  who  had  lost,  told  him 
it  was  dinner  for  the  entire  party.  Barry  added,  "A 
large  stake." 

Joe  threw  and  lost,  and  after  the  order  was  given,  being 
also  in  an  actor's  summer,  made  a  tour  among  the  mem- 
bers of  his  own  company,  borrowing  for  the  prospective 
bill.  When  the  checks  came  Barrymore  paid  for  all  the 
dinners.  But  Sydney's  line  of  "High  man  out"  passed 
into  the  company's  quotations,  and  on  all  occasions  was 
used  to  exclude  anybody  from  polite  or  generous  enter- 

Our  rehearsals  were  in  Boston.  Knowing  how  much 
depended  upon  the  result  of  the  venture,  I  was  especially 
watchful,  trying  to  detach  myself  and  look  at  the  presen- 
tation objectively,  as  a  critic  in  the  theatre.  I  could  see 
nothing  but  success.  As  a  touchstone  for  my  estimate 
I  had  of  course  the  rather  full  record  of  the  little  play 
which  was  now  the  third  act  of  the  big  one.  Naturally 
the  story  mounted  to  that,  and  the  fourth  act,  which 
was  a  logical  sequence,  did  not  seem  to  drop. 

Our  first  night  was  not  more  short  of  its  endeavored 
effects  than  most  first  nights  are.  The  nervousness  of 
men  and  women  in  a  new  play  is  such  that  at  a  first  per- 
formance they  never  give  their  best  interpretation.  At 
this  opening  the  calls  were  sufficient,  the  applause  and 
laughter  were  great.  Behind  the  curtain  we  thought 
we  had  a  success.  The  thing  that  chilled  us  was  the  fail- 
ure of  the  inexperienced  management  to  say  so.  They 
had  been  in  touch  with  the  men  from  the  papers,  and  we 
felt  that  they  reflected  the  opinion  of  those  men. 

Most  actors  have  a  light  dinner  around  six  o'clock 
and  a  supper  when  the  work  is  over.  That  night  in  Bos- 


ton  we  men  were  all  too  excited  to  think  of  going  to  bed 
even  at  the  actor's  hour.  Four  of  us,  Barrymore,  Drew, 
John  Sullivan,  and  I,  decided  to  sit  up  for  the  morning 
papers.  We  were  joined  by  dear  old  General  George 
Sheridan,  the  silver-tongued  Republican  spellbinder, 
father  of  our  leading  lady.  He  had  been  with  us  during 
our  four  weeks'  preparation. 

The  impression  upon  a  sensitive  author  may  mislead 
me,  but  as  I  remember  the  morning  papers  they  had 
very  little  to  comfort  any  one.  Barrymore's  indignation 
and  revolt  were  magnificent.  He  consigned  all  the  critics 
to  the  bowwows,  and  was  disposed  to  send  the  audience 
with  them. 

His  finishing  line  as  he  slapped  me  encouragingly  on 
the  shoulder  as  daylight  was  breaking  through  the  win- 
dow was:  "Boston,  my  boy  I  Why  pay  any  attention 
to  it?  What  is  it?  A  city  of  Malvolios." 

Sharing  my  first  faith  in  the  piece,  trying  to  analyze 
and  weigh  the  elements  of  success  against  everything  in 
the  other  scale,  he  was  sympathetically  bracing  me  up. 

Sydney  Drew,  who  lacked  Barrymore's  ability  to  do 
this,  but  who  had  an  equal  good-will,  broke  in  by  say- 
ing: "Now,  Gus,  I've  been  in  too  many  first  nights " 

His  brother-in-law  said  playfully,  "You  have,  Mr. 
Drew,  you  have,"  and  pushed  him  out  of  the  conference. 

Sydney,  with  his  comedy  smile  and  a  gesture  of  re- 
covery, added:  "Well,  I'm  a  wonder." 

"You  do  yourself  an  injustice — you're  a  freak,"  Barry 
said,  and  returned  to  lifting  my  soggy  spirit. 

Two  or  three  managers  had  come  down  to  Boston  to 
see  our  opening,  among  them  Joseph  Grismer,  at  that 
time  a  favorite  actor  on  the  Pacific  Coast,  where  he  was 
starring  jointly  with  his  beautiful  and  talented  wife, 


Phoebe  Davies.  Grismer  had  an  option  on  the  Western 
rights  to  the  play.  That  he  had  disappeared  at  the  end 
of  the  performance  was  an  unhappy  augury  in  the  mind 
of  the  management.  I  was  staying  in  the  old  Clark's 
Hotel,  a  place  for  men  only.  At  six  A.  M.,  I  turned  into 
bed  in  a  room  on  an  upper  floor  with  a  door  at  right  angle 
to  a  room  occupied  by  Smythe.  The  weather  was  warm, 
the  transoms  were  open.  I  was  waked  about  nine  o'clock 
by  Matthews  calling  upon  Smythe.  Through  the  open 
transoms  I  could  hear  the  dejected  conference  between 
the  two  managers. 

A  bell-boy  knocked  at  the  door.  Matthews  took  the 

From  Grismer!  Each  man  tried  to  pass  to  the  other 
the  painful  duty  of  going  below  to  interview  him.  Mat- 
thews finally  went. 

After  a  considerable  interval  I  heard  his  steps  come 
quickly  to  Smythe's  door,  a  sharp  rap,  an  entrance,  and 
his  excited  tone  as  he  reported  to  his  partner:  "Why,  he 
still  wants  it ! " 

Further  sleep  was  impossible  to  me.  I  dressed  quickly, 
and  as  soon  as  I  could  do  so  diplomatically  confirmed 
the  meaning  of  the  report.  Later  I  saw  Grismer  himself. 
With  the  ease  of  the  veteran  he  had  dismissed  the  un- 
favorable notices.  He  had  seen  the  play;  he  had  watched 
its  effect  upon  the  audience.  He  saw  himself  in  the  part. 

I  shall  never  forget  his  hearty  laugh  or  the  strong,  sol- 
dierly face  as  he  said:  "Why,  my  boy,  it'll  make  a  for- 
tune for  everybody!" 

That  was  a  hard  Tuesday  for  me.  The  day  before  I 
would  have  bet  upon  my  ability  to  brace  up  under  any 
conditions.  But  when  I  found  Smythe  and  Matthews 
discounting  also  Grismer's  optimistic  opinion  and  ac- 


ceptance,  and  regarding  both  as  peculiar  to  his  isolated 
territory  and  his  personal  needs,  I  was  a  demoralized 
author.  One  thing  that  hurt  me  much  was  what  I 
thought  injustice  in  important  press  comments.  In  the 
first  act  of  the  play  my  burglar  was  a  man  in  refined  sur- 
roundings, speaking  good  English;  in  the  third  act  he 
was  talking  thief  jargon.  I  had  believed  that  subtilely 
effective,  because  in  my  railroad  experience  I  had  seen 
educated  men  quickly  adopt  the  ungrammatical  and 
slangy  speech  of  the  man  on  a  box  car.  Mr.  Clapp,  then 
the  principal  critic  of  Boston,  cited  this  departure  as  a 
mark  of  my  immaturity.  The  opinion  marked  only  his 
own  inexperience  with  actual  life  in  that  stratum  and 
environment.  Two  or  three  days  later  some  other  paper 
took  issue  with  him  upon  the  point,  but  on  that  Tuesday 
I  was  submerged  by  that  and  other  objections  equally 

During  a  walk  alone  in  the  afternoon  I  found  myself 
looking  into  a  shop-window  with  no  accurate  conscious- 
ness of  my  surroundings  or  recollection  of  how  I  had 
acquired  them.  It  was  only  a  dazed  minute  or  two  before 
objects  fell  into  their  proper  categories  and  I  was  able 
to  get  my  bearings,  but  the  lapse  alarmed  me.  A  half 
block  farther  I  met  Mary  Shaw,  whose  home  was  Bos- 
ton. Mary  had  seen  the  play  and  was  enthusiastic  in 
her  approval  of  it  and  of  the  work  of  the  company.  This, 
however,  was  to  me  unimportant  in  the  presence  of  the 
lapse  of  consciousness  I  had  just  been  through.  In  fright- 
ened fashion  I  told  her  of  it. 

Mary  put  back  her  head  and  with  her  contagious  laugh 
of  those  early  days,  said:  "Good  old-fashioned  bilious- 
ness, my  boy,  nothing  more."  Mary's  diagnosis  was 


Our  Boston  engagement  was  for  two  weeks.  The  busi- 
ness showed  such  healthy  signs  that  we  were  regretful 
that  it  was  not  for  a  longer  period. 

On  Wednesday  after  the  matinee  Wesley  Rosenquest, 
managing  the  Madison  Square  Theatre  for  A.  M.  Palmer, 
proposed  to  Smythe  and  Matthews  that  the  piece  be 
brought  to  New  York  for  as  long  a  time  as  it  would  hold 
up  in  the  summer.  His  terms  were  for  the  theatre  to 
take  each  week  the  first  two  thousand  dollars.  It  was 
of  course  possible  to  play  to  much  less  than  this  on  the 
gross,  and  for  the  management  also  to  be  stuck  for 
salaries  and  advertising. 

As  they  hesitated  Barrymore  said:  "Take  it!  If  the 
money  doesn't  come  in  you'll  owe  me  nothing,  and  I 
think  I  can  answer  for  most  of  the  company." 

This  decided  the  managers.  As  they  started  to  thank 
Barrymore  he  interrupted  them:  "I'm  not  doing  it  on 
your  account.  This  is  for  Thomas." 

The  New  York  opening  was  a  night  of  almost  equal 
anxiety  to  that  of  Boston.  As  one  of  the  cast  I  had  only 
the  actor's  biased  opinion  as  to  how  the  play  was  going. 
I  was  heartened  during  the  first  intermission  by  a  visit 
of  the  comedian,  Louis  Harrison,  who  came  to  my  dress- 
ing-room with  a  message  from  Bronson  Howard,  com- 
mending the  workmanship  of  the  act  just  finished;  and 
when  the  play  was  over  Harrison  came  again  to  Barry- 
more's  room  and  mine  to  bring  us  good  news  and  to  give 
his  own  opinion — by  no  means  an  unskilled  one — that 
we  had  the  best  melodrama  offered  in  New  York  since 
"The  Two  Orphans." 

Bronson  Howard  was  then  in  New  York  with  his  pro- 
duction of  "Shenandoah"  at  the  Star  Theatre,  where  its 
great  success  was  so  substantially  the  beginning  of  Charles 


Frohman's  fortunes.  Other  attractions  running  at  that 
time  were  Rosina  Yokes  with  her  little  company  at  Daly's 
in  repertoire,  including  "My  Milliner's  Bill,"  "The 
Rough  Diamond,"  and  the  song  "His  'Art  Was  True  to 
Poll."  Maude  Adams  was  making  her  first  hit  at  the 
old  Bijou  Theatre  in  Hoyt's  "A  Midnight  Bell";  Francis 
Wilson  was  playing  "The  Oolah"  at  the  Broadway; 
Sothern  was  rehearsing  "Lord  Chumley"  by  Belasco 
and  De  Mille  to  go  on  at  the  Lyceum  on  Fourth  Avenue, 
the  beautiful  little  second-story  theatre  managed  at  that 
time  by  Daniel  Frohman  and  supported  by  a  clientele 
second  only  to  Daly's.  The  McCauII  Opera  Company, 
with  Digby  Bell  as  principal  comedian,  was  in  the  midst 
of  a  run  at  Palmer's;  Lillian  Russell  was  playing  "The 
Brigands"  at  the  Casino;  "FerncIifFe,"  by  William  Ha- 
worth,  was  at  the  Union  Square,  and  Helen  Barry  had 
in  rehearsal  "Love  and  Liberty"  to  follow.  Denman 
Thompson  was  in  the  midst  of  his  popularity  with  "The 
Old  Homestead"  at  the  Academy. 

"The  Burglar"  was  a  success  in  New  York,  and  after 
its  first  year  on  the  road  played  with  two  and  sometimes 
three  companies  throughout  the  country  almost  con- 
tinuously for  the  next  ten  years.  I  report  this  to  record 
a  fact  which  may  be  useful  to  other  writers.  When  I 
was  in  St.  Louis  Will  Smythe  had  written  to  say  that 
forty  dollars  a  week  was  a  fair  royalty  for  a  four-act  play 
by  a  beginner.  In  his  own  inexperience  he  had  consulted 
Howard  P.  Taylor,  then  somewhat  in  the  public  eye  as 
a  dramatist.  That  royalty  was  agreed  upon.  I  was 
sure  that  Smythe  had  been  misinformed,  but  the  terms 
were  adhered  to.  The  lowest  royalty  that  a  beginner 
of  a  play  worthy  of  production  should  have  received 
would  have  been  5  per  cent  of  the  gross  receipts,  amount- 


ing  on  "The  Burglar's"  average  business  to  more  than 
ten  times  forty  dollars.  Smarting  under  what  I  felt  to 
be  the  injustice  of  the  arrangement,  and  yet  declining 
to  ask  anything  not  in  the  contract,  after  the  first  few 
weeks  I  sold  my  rights  for  twenty-five  hundred  dollars. 
The  piece  did,  as  Grismer  had  prophesied,  make  small 
fortunes  for  all  owners  associated  with  it. 

When  "The  Burglar"  went  away  for  its  first  season, 
however,  its  royalty  of  forty  dollars  a  week  was  my  total 
income.  I  don't  know  what  decree  of  fate  led  to  such  a 
general  agreement  upon  this  figure  as  my  value,  but  with 
certain  obligations  in  the  West  economy  was  essential. 
Smythe  relinquished  a  second-story  front  room  at  205 
West  Twenty-fifth  Street,  over  a  parlor  that  was  occu- 
pied by  an  Italian  who  gave  a  table  d'hote  dinner  for 
thirty-five  cents  with  a  pint  of  red  wine  thrown  in.  That 
was  the  dinner  to  which  I  treated  Barrymore  and  asked 
him  if  it  wasn't  a  fine  offering  for  the  money. 

Barrymore  said:  "Great!  Let's  have  another!" 
This  second-story  room  was  let  for  three  dollars  a  week. 
I  engaged  it  when  Smythe  left  toward  the  end  of  Sep- 
tember. It  was  a  fine  room  for  the  money,  being  nearly 
twenty-five  feet  square  and  having  three  windows  at 
the  front.  Among  its  few  drawbacks  were  the  simplicity 
of  its  furnishing  and  a  rich,  permeating  odor  of  Italian 
cooking,  never  absent  and  especially  high  at  the  flood  of 
the  gastronomic  tides.  Barrymore  thought  that  any- 
body ought  to  be  able  to  write  in  such  rich  and  redolent 
quarters,  away  from  all  distractions  and  calls,  and  when 
the  rear  room  on  the  same  floor,  separated  from  the  front 
room  only  by  the  customary  wardrobes  and  marble  wash- 
stands  of  that  period,  was  vacant  he  rented  it  at  the  same 


On  his  first  day  as  a  tenant  he  brought  in  two  reams 
of  soft  printing  paper,  typewriter  size,  and  two  dozen 
plain  wood  pencils  already  sharpened  and  made  of  a 
grade  of  plumbago  suggesting  stove  polish.  They  had 
retailed  at  ten  cents  a  dozen.  He  declared  his  intention 
of  starting  in  the  next  morning  to  write  a  play.  But  he 
didn't  come  that  morning  or  any  other  morning.  His 
wife  predicted  that  such  would  be  the  case.  She  said 
their  own  apartment,  wherever  it  happened  to  be,  was 
strewn  with  stray  leaves  on  each  of  which  was  written, 
"Act  One,  Scene  One.  A  Ruined  Garden." 

Some  five  or  six  years  later,  when  I  had  built  a  home 
and  was  living  at  New  Rochelle,  Barrymore  came  out 
one  night  to  read  a  play  he  had  completed.  We  had  to 
explain  the  burst  of  laughter  that  greeted  him  from  my 
wife  and  me  as  he  began  to  read,  "Act  One,  Scene  One: 
A  Ruined  Garden."  Not  only  did  Barrymore  never 
work  in  that  Twenty-fifth  Street  room,  but  as  far  as  I 
know  he  never  came  to  it  but  once. 

This  failure  to  use  the  room  is  not  astonishing  when 
we  remember  Barrymore's  way  of  living  then.  Rather 
than  store  his  four  or  five  trunks  of  valuable  costumes 
which  he  was  apt  to  need  at  a  moment's  notice,  he  kept 
them  in  a  little  hall  bedroom  on  Twenty-eighth  Street 
in  a  house  managed  by  a  Mrs.  Higgins.  The  room  also 
contained  a  little  iron  bedstead  and  washstand.  Barry- 
more  never  occupied  it,  but  to  disagreeable  persons  he 
gave  it  as  his  address.  Mrs.  Higgins  was  instructed  to 
say  always  that  Barrymore  had  just  gone  out,  and  occa- 
sionally some  wastrel  transient,  on  an  order  from  Barry, 
slept  there.  In  conjunction  with  one  or  two  actor  friends 
he  had  a  flat  on  Fourth  Avenue.  I  think  this  was  really 
the  place  where  he  preferred  to  sleep  and  to  get  his  break- 


fasts.  Mrs.  Barrymore  was  travelling  with  the  Crane 
company  at  that  time,  and  when  she  came  to  the  city 
Barrymore  took  an  apartment  with  her  at  some  hotel. 
During  one  of  these  engagements  their  joint  address 
was  the  old  Sturtevant  House,  so  that  with  the  room 
back  of  mine  Barrymore  quite  honestly  had  four  private 

One  blizzard  night,  walking  away  from  The  Lambs 
Club  on  Twenty-sixth  Street,  I  was  stopped  by  a  shiver- 
ing boy  of  twenty  who  asked  for  a  dime  to  get  a  bed.  I 
took  him  with  me,  showed  him  into  this  back  room.  The 
boy  looked  at  the  sofa. 


I  said  "No,"  pointed  to  the  roomy  and  well-furnished 
bed  and  left  him  stammering  his  thanks.  About  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning  I  was  waked  by  somebody  strik- 
ing a  match  and  turning  on  the  gas.  Barrymore,  drip- 
ping from  the  storm,  stood  in  the  middle  of  the  floor. 

He  nodded  to  the  back  room  and  said:  "What's  all 
this  in  there?" 

After  collecting  my  thoughts  a  moment  I  said: 
"That's  a  little  philanthropy  of  mine." 

"Well,  where  am  I  to  sleep?" 

"What's  the  matter  with  the  Fourth  Avenue  flat?" 
There  was  some  friend  there.  "What  about  the  Sturte- 
vant House  and  Georgie?" 

Barrymore  said:  "Ethel  is  over  from  Philadelphia  to 
visit  her  mother,  and  I've  been  turned  out." 

"What  about  the  room  at  Mrs.  Higgins'?" 

"King  Hall  has  that  this  week." 

I  couldn't  help  laughing  at  the  picture  of  America's 
favorite  and  best-paid  actor,  with  four  apartments  for 
which  he  was  paying  rent  and  no  place  to  sleep. 

I  said:    "I  don't  know  what  you're  going  to  do,  old 


"I  do." 

He  shed  his  outside  clothes  and  got  into  bed  with  me. 

Barrymore  at  that  time  was  playing  my  one-act  piece, 
"A  Man  of  the  World,"  previously  referred  to  as  the 
contribution  refused  for  publication  when  offered  during 
my  reportorial  duty  on  the  Post-Despatch.  Somewhat 
dissatisfied  with  his  opportunities  at  the  Madison  Square 
Theatre,  he  was  considering  an  engagement  to  star  under 
the  management  of  J.  M.  Hill.  I  was  casting  about  in 
an  effort  to  devise  for  him  a  play  that  would  show  to  best 
advantages  the  Barrymore  qualities.  My  association 
with  him  and  the  little  circle  about  him  at  this  time  put 
a  decidedly  new  twist  into  my  way  of  thinking  of  the 

Barrymore  had  written  and  produced  for  Helena  Mod- 
jeska  a  story  of  Russian  life  called  "Nadjesda,"  which 
in  the  opinion  of  many  had  been  handicapped  by  the 
intensity  of  its  dramatic  incidents.  It  was  drama  of  that 
kind  that  he  wanted  from  me.  Somewhere  from  the 
South  there  was  a  newspaper  item  of  two  men  who  had 
fought  a  duel  by  drawing  lots  from  a  hat  with  the  under- 
standing that  the  man  who  got  the  marked  card  was  to 
suicide.  This  and  other  incidents  coming  to  our  atten- 
tion at  that  time,  all  equally  unusual  or  bizarre,  com- 
bined to  make  a  story  which,  under  the  title  of  "Reck- 
less Temple,"  I  submitted  to  Barrymore  and  Hill,  and, 
urged  by  their  enthusiasm,  wrote  in  that  Twenty-fifth 
Street  room. 


I  had  now  become  a  member  of  The  Lambs.  At  the 
clubhouse  I  passed  more  than  half  the  time  I  permitted 
myself  away  from  my  writing.  The  Lambs  was  then  in 
its  fifteenth  year,  and  contained  the  best  element  in  the 
profession.  It  was  a  great  honor,  privilege,  and  education 
to  be  received  on  equal  terms  by  its  then  membership,  a 
total  professional  number  of  one  hundred,  which  included 
such  men  as  Lester  Wallack,  Dion  Boucicault,  Steele 
Mackaye,  Mark  Smith,  Robert  G.  IngersoII,  Otis  Skinner, 
the  Holland  brothers,  George,  Edmund,  and  Joseph,  and 
others  worthy  of  the  standard  that  these  names  indicate. 

A  table  d'hote  dinner  was  served  for  fifty  cents  at  the 
large  club  table,  where  the  men  were  like  members  of  a 
family.  There  was  a  notable  musical  contingent  and 
often  between  courses  the  popular  songs  of  the  time. 
The  gayety  of  such  youngsters  as  Harry  Woodruff,  Cyril 
Scott,  Fritz  Williams,  Francis  Carlyle,  and  Ned  Bell  was 
as  memorable  as  the  wise  talk  of  such  elders  as  Steele 
Mackaye  and  Frank  Mayo.  Fun  was  spontaneous  and 
unconstrained.  At  one  of  these  small  dinners  I  began 
my  real  acquaintance  with  Otis  Skinner.  He  had  come 
in  from  a  trip  on  the  road,  was  greeted  with  shouts  and 
lifted  glasses,  and  because  the  place  on  the  impromptu 
programme  fitted  it  he  stood  in  the  doorway,  and  an- 
swering the  men's  demand  recited  Beranger's  "When 
We  Were  Twenty-One."  I  shall  always  remember  the 



romantic  picture  of  that  virile,  Moorish-looking  young- 
ster, and  the  sentiment  with  which  he  read  "Flo,  my 
Flo,  was  a  coryphee." 

The  Lambs  was  then  at  34  West  Twenty-sixth  Street, 
between  Broadway  and  Sixth  Avenue;  the  house  an 
old-fashioned  five-story,  twenty-five-foot-front  brown- 
stone  dwelling  with  high  stoop,  under  which  was  a  base- 
ment entrance.  It  was  like  its  adjoining  houses  in  ex- 
ternal looks  and  faced  similar  buildings  on  the  north  side 
of  the  street.  Those  respectable  neighbors  eyed  it  with 
distrust.  Leaving  The  Lambs  and  walking  east  to  Broad- 
way you  passed  the  St.  James  Hotel  on  the  corner.  On 
the  other  side  of  Broadway  was  Delmonico's,  running 
through  the  short  block  to  Fifth  Avenue.  The  block  was 
and  still  is  short,  because  these  two  great  thoroughfares 
wedge  sharply  three  blocks  farther  south.  East  of  the 
long  plaza  made  by  their  intersection  is  the  park  called 
Madison  Square,  a  plunger  fountain  in  the  centre  and 
the  Saint-Gaudens  bronze  of  Farragut  on  the  northwest 

Facing  this  square  on  all  four  sides  in  1889  were  beau- 
tiful and  impressive  buildings,  each  with  its  history  fairly 
mellow  and  all  with  their  uniform  sky-line  that  could 
be  enjoyed  without  suggesting  curvature  of  the  spine. 

To  have  eyes  and  never  to  see  the  sky  is  to  be  slowly 
and  unconsciously  immersed  in  matter.  Where  no  vision 
is  the  people  perish,  and  the  vision  of  this  nation  is  born 
and  nourished  and  reinforced  and  sustained  from  modest 
houses  that  are  detached  and  which  face  four  ways  to 
the  weather  and  from  which  men  and  women  look  in 
easy  angle  at  the  sky.  Some  one  has  gone  further  than 
this  and  said  that  a  view  of  the  horizon  is  necessary  to 
the  sanity  of  the  eye.  In  thirty-three  years  Industry 


with  a  capital  I  has  torn  down  the  old  Delmonico's,  the 
old  St.  James,  the  Worth  and  Hoffman  houses,  the  Fifth 
Avenue  Hotel,  and  the  handsome  homes  of  modest  height, 
and  replaced  them  with  cubes  of  the  towering  kind  that 
make  central  New  York  City  a  gridiron  of  box  canons. 

In  1889  Madison  Square  had  just  won  from  Union 
Square,  nine  streets  farther  south,  its  claim  to  be  the 
theatrical  centre.  It  was  the  smart  and  modern  spot, 
although  many  of  the  actors  of  the  comic-page,  fur- 
trimmed  intensity  still  haunted  the  older  Rialto.  And 
at  Fourteenth  Street  there  was  still  considerable  theatri- 
cal power  and  vibration.  Under  the  old  Morton  House 
J.  M.  Hill  still  managed  the  Union  Square  Theatre.  One 
street  farther  south  was  the  Star,  where  Crane's  long 
run  in  David  Lloyd's  and  Sydney  Rosenfeld's  "Senator" 
and  other  plays  was  to  occur  before  the  passing  of  that 
historic  house.  North  of  Union  Square,  where  now  stands 
the  lofty  Century  Building,  was  the  stately,  hospitable 
Everett  House;  while  to  the  east  was  Riccadonna's, 
famous  for  spaghetti  and  the  patronage  of  the  Salvinis, 
father  and  son.  These,  with  the  Academy  of  Music, 
then  run  by  E.  G.  Gilmore,  and  Tony  Pastor's  own 
theatre  just  behind  it,  put  up  their  ancient  claim  for 
attention.  But  the  fashionable  town  was  moving  north. 

At  Twenty-fifth  Street  two  tides  of  easy  promenaders 
joined  in  their  down-town  drift,  and  returning  there 
divided  for  the  northerly  walks.  Every  fine  afternoon 
other  than  matinee  days  members  of  the  stock  companies 
of  Daly's,  Palmer's,  and  the  Lyceum  theatres,  and  mem- 
bers of  other  combinations  of  nearly  equal  importance, 
moved  in  leisurely  manner  and  almost  small-town  neigh- 
borliness  through  the  comfortable  throngs  of  well-dressed 
and  fairly  intelligent  Americans,  to  whom  all  of  them 


were  known  by  sight.  Fashionable  New  York  was  out 
in  private  rigs  with  liveried  coachmen  and  tigers;  there 
were  no  trolley-cars,  no  motors.  The  busses  on  Fifth 
Avenue  were  drawn  by  slow-plodding  horses. 

Life  itself  had  a  gentle  pace,  social  intercourse  a  more 
genial  temperature.  Friends,  meeting,  stopped  to  ex- 
change a  word;  men  in  groups  told  stories,  laughed; 
policemen  did  not  ask  them  to  move  on.  The  moulds 
of  form,  the  glasses  of  fashion  were  John  Drew  and  Her- 
bert Kelcey,  Robert  Hilliard  and  Berry  Wall.  Equal 
centres  of  interest  and  prompters  of  good-nature  were 
Barrymore,  Coghlan,  Goodwin,  Hopper,  Digby  Bell, 
Dixey,  Charles  Stevenson,  and  Frank  Carlyle.  A  cer- 
tain challenge  went  with  Ted  Henley  or  Lackaye. 

Some  day  it  will  be  as  respectable  to  write  historically 
of  the  fine  barrooms  of  that  time  as  it  was  for  Dickens 
in  his  day  to  write  of  the  tap-room;  and  even  now  I  must 
venture  something,  because  to  leave  them  out  is  to  at- 
tempt a  portrait  with  half  the  face  concealed.  Any  one 
of  those  important  men  just  named  could  be  stopped 
in  that  parade,  and  under  the  pretense  of  business  or 
pressing  communication  enticed  for  a  moment's  mis- 
leading conference  into  one  of  those  convenient  snares. 

In  the  St.  James  Hotel,  behind  and  above  the  glass- 
ware, was  a  picture  of  three  dashing  cavaliers,  plumed 
hats,  flowing  cloaks,  swords,  and  all;  portraits  in  costume 
of  Billy  Connor,  hotel  proprietor  and  erstwhile  manager 
of  John  McCuIIough;  of  Charles  W.  Brooke,  distin- 
guished lawyer,  orator,  and  bon  vivant  of  the  day;  of  Louis 
N.  Megargee,  newspaper  writer  of  Philadelphia  and  New 
York,  all  initmate  friends  of  the  talented  Moses  P.  Handy 
of  Clover  Club  celebrity.  This  picture  had  the  kind  of 
draft  and  influence  of  Maxfield  Parrish's  Old  King  Cole, 


painted  in  after  years  for  the  late  Knickerbocker  Hotel 
cafe,  with  the  difference  that  King  Cole  came  from  the 
nursery  with  the  reputation  of  having  quite  shamelessly 
and  in  haute  voix  expressed  his  preferences,  whereas  the 
St.  James  trio  depended  entirely  upon  the  law  of  asso- 
ciative suggestion. 

One  habitue  was  Jerry  Dunn,  a  handsome  fellow 
strongly  suggesting  in  appearance  former  United  States 
Senator  J.  Hamilton  Lewis,  though  Dunn  was  rather  a 
silent  person.  He  had,  however,  killed  a  man  with  a 
revolver.  Another  sport  was  Pat  Sheedy,  who  managed 
John  L.  Sullivan.  It  was  in  that  saloon,  the  story  ran, 
that  when  Sullivan  proposed  to  beat  up  Sheedy  with  his 
fists,  Sheedy,  not  unprepared  for  the  attention,  had 
pushed  a  derringer  against  Sullivan's  body  and  asked  him 
not  to  do  it. 

Some  politicians  came  there.  General  Sheridan — 
Silver-tongued  George,  as  his  Republican  friends  called 
him — lived  in  the  hotel. 

On  the  next  block  south  from  the  St.  James  was  the 
Hoffman  House  cafe,  perhaps  the  finest  in  the  world. 
The  proprietor  was  the  handsome,  melancholy,  gray- 
haired  Ned  Stokes,  who  had  killed  Colonel  Jim  Fisk  on 
account  of  the  notorious  Josie  Mansfield.  It  was  said 
Stokes  always  slept  thereafter  with  the  light  burning  in 
his  bedroom.  In  this  cafe,  guarded  by  brass  rails  and 
plush  ropes,  hung  an  heroic  canvas  by  the  great  Bou- 
guereau,  a  painting  of  several  nymphs  trying  to  throw 
a  fighting  satyr  into  the  water.  This  prophetic  symbol 
was  years  before  the  general  adoption  of  woman  suffrage. 

In  the  theatre  the  prizes  are  to  magnetism  quite  as 
much  as  to  ideas  or  antics.  Of  the  three  factors,  mag- 
netism is  the  hardest  to  define.  To  call  it  attraction  is 


but  to  change  the  substantive.  To  call  it  personality 
is  only  to  befog  it.  To  recite  the  reasons  for  my  own 
explanation  of  it  or  to  support  my  case  adequately  in  the 
controversy  those  reasons  would  provoke  would  take  half 
a  volume.  I  therefore  omit  reasons,  and  avoiding  con- 
troversy issue  only  my  belief  that  the  force  is  electrical; 
that  its  possessor  is  not  its  generator  but  its  medium, 
and  that  the  voluntary  transmission  of  it  is  exhausting. 
The  truly  effective  actor  cannot  simply  wipe  off  his  grease 
paint  and  turn  in  to  slumber. 

Our  Favershams,  our  Hacketts,  our  Marlowes,  our 
Cohans,  our  Drews  of  three  actor  generations,  our  Barry- 
mores  of  two,  with  the  admixture  of  the  Drew  strain, 
our  like  artists  of  repute,  as  well  as  those  yet  undiscov- 
ered and  uncelebrated,  cannot  after  a  night's  play  set 
the  psychical  brakes  and  come  to  a  dead  centre.  Like 
a  machine  before  the  stop,  the  human  organism  before 
the  normal  nerve  rate  must  slow  down.  For  this  retar- 
dation the  ample  apartment  with  trained  butler  or  equally 
trained  maid  and  the  presence  of  understanding  com- 
rades who  quit  at  the  first  suppressed  yawn  is  ideal. 

For  an  income  unequal  to  such  provision  the  proper 
restaurant,  the  club,  the  cafe  of  the  Hoffman  kind,  is 
invaluable.  Let  us  not  chide  that  immortal  coterie  at 
the  Mermaid  Inn,  nor  Chris  Marlowe,  nor  Ben  Jonson, 
nor  Will  Shakespeare,  nor  criticise  too  severely  that  other 
at  the  Cheshire  Cheese  of  which  Garrick  was  so  often 
the  centre  and  Doctor  Johnson  the  mentor. 

Into  that  old  Hoffman  House  cafe  from  the  Madison 
Square,  the  Fifth  Avenue,  the  Lyceum,  three  theatres 
within  a  radius  of  two  blocks,  actors  easily  drifted.  Those 
of  Palmer's,  Daly's,  and  the  Bijou  had  but  little  farther 
to  come.  The  writers  met  them.  For  some  obscure 


reason — as  slightly  higher  price  or  the  watchful  eye  of 
the  house  man,  Billy  Edwards,  ex-champion  prize-fighter 
— only  the  better  element  of  the  men  about  town  fre- 
quented the  place.  A  group  of  players  and  playwrights 
at  a  table  were  uninterrupted.  Men  nodded  to  them, 
or  joined  them  if  invited,  but  they  did  not  intrude. 

What  wise  conferences  were  many  of  those  expert 
discussions  of  current  or  projected  plays;  what  con- 
densed experience;  what  discovered  and  tested  rules; 
what  classifyings  of  situations;  what  precedents  and 
likenesses;  what  traditions,  conventions,  experiments, 
suggestions;  what  a  winnowing  of  ideas  by  what  vigor- 
ous, original,  challenging,  prolific  fellows;  and  in  what 
free  interchange  in  an  atmosphere  and  temper  stimu- 
lated to  just  that  degree  of  exaltation  that  can  bridge 
and  blend  and  give  an  overtone  and  group  consensus ! 
Truly,  "Wisdom  is  justified  of  her  children." 

For  more  private  and  smaller  conferences,  among 
other  places,  there  was  also  Browne's  famous  old  chop- 
house  on  Twenty-seventh  Street  just  off  the  Broadway 
corner;  one  stone  step  to  the  hallway  and  a  turn  to  the 
right  for  the  parlor  dining-room  with  its  little  tables,  to 
which  a  third  chair  could  be  drawn;  the  hot-water  dishes 
for  the  mealy  Welsh  rabbit  and  the  pewter  mugs  for  the 
musty  ale. 

I  first  saw  Paul  Potter  there,  rewriter  of  French 
comedy  at  the  time,  but  afterward  author  of  "The  Con- 
querors," "Trilby,"  "Under  Two  Flags,"  and  adapter 
of  a  half  score  of  farces.  He  looked  an  oldish  young  man 
then  as,  thirty  years  later,  after  the  unmanageable 
cropped  hair  turned  white,  he  looked  a  youngish  old  one. 
Barrymore  made  him  join  us,  and  then  rallied  him  on 
his  theories  until  daylight.  Paul  Potter  was  always  a 


bookworm.  Why  study  life  when  it  is  all  so  thoroughly 
written  and  pigeonholed  and  catalogued  by  men  so  su- 
perior to  any  of  us?  And  Paul  knew  all  the  indexes, 
including  the  Expurgatorius.  Diderot  was  his  guide,  and 
his  laws  were  immutable.  Paul  remade  plays  as  an  Ital- 
ian worked  in  mosaic,  or  he  thought  he  did. 

After  that  first  meeting  he  met  me  at  long  intervals 
in  America,  in  London,  in  Paris,  and  without  astonish- 
ment in  a  seemingly  uninterrupted  intimacy,  with  both 
hands  out  in  greeting  and  with  perplexed  eyes;  but 
whether  in  luck  or  in  trouble,  always  with  the  self-de- 
precating, boyish,  white-toothed  smile.  At  Foyot's  on 
the  Rue  Vaugirard,  the  French  senators  from  the  palais 
opposite,  equally  with  the  bowing  waiters,  saluted  him 
as  Monsieur  I'Americain. 

I  saw  him  last  in  New  York  in  the  early  spring  of  1921, 
one  afternoon  in  a  Turkish  bath  on  Forty-second  Street. 
I  first  inquired  quietly  of  the  attendant,  and  having  made 
sure  of  the  solitary  sleeper  talked  loudly  enough  to  rouse 
him.  The  grave,  emaciated  face,  simple  as  one  of  Shake- 
speare's forest  rustics,  took  on  its  waking  smile  as  he 
asked  "Gus?  Gus?"  and  sat  up  in  his  sheet,  as  sunny 
as  a  boy  at  a  swimmin'  hole. 

"How  are  you,  Paul?" 

He  chuckled  with  the  merriment  of  it. 

"Why,  Gus,  old  friend,  I'm  dying!"  And  then  he 
laughingly  told  me  how  desirable  diabetes  was  as  a  way 
to  finish.  One  had  to  go  some  time.  The  doctors  gave 
him  only  a  few  weeks  longer.  "See?  It's  the  swelling 
of  feet  and  ankles  that  keeps  me  in  here  most  of  the  time, 
but  the  boys  all  know  me  and  don't  mind  me  lying 
around.  Soon  after  this  stage  one  goes  into  coma  and — 
it's  all  over."  And  he  laughed  again,  his  forehead  wrin- 


kling  under  his  thick  white  hair.  The  next  day  they 
couldn't  wake  him. 

I  hate  to  jam  old  friends  into  their  coffins  this  way, 
but  with  only  twelve  of  these  articles  one  has  to  do  it 
or  hurt  some  of  their  feelings  by  leaving  them  out.  But 
back  in  Browne's  in  1889  Paul  told  me  that,  as  Diderot 
had  printed  for  him,  our  plays  are  written  backwards; 
that  is,  constructed  like  a  mystery  story,  from  the  solu- 
tion backward  to  the  enigma.  Of  course,  it  was  helpful 
to  know  that,  and  I've  told  it  to  dozens  of  youngsters. 
Who  was  it  said  the  unpardonable  thing,  the  one  base 
thing  in  life,  is  to  receive  benefits  and  to  confer  none? 

There  came  into  New  York  that  winter  a  typical 
Southerner  in  speech  and  appearance  named  Colonel 
Edward  Alfriend.  His  home  had  been  Richmond,  Vir- 
ginia. Other  citizens  of  that  place  reported  that  because 
of  his  courtly  manner  he  had  been  called  Count  Alfriend. 
The  colonel  was  about  sixty  years  of  age,  tall,  suddenly 
portly  at  the  meridian,  with  prominent  features,  and 
a  walruslike  white  mustache,  which  with  the  important 
consciousness  of  an  English  guardsman  he  stroked  to 
hold  the  floor  in  the  pauses  of  his  discourse.  His  am- 
bition was  dramatic  authorship.  His  most  prominent 
friend  in  the  theatre  was  A.  M.  Palmer,  above  whom  in 
physical  stature  he  towered  some  seven  inches.  He  spent 
many  hours  in  Mr.  Palmer's  office  when  it  was  evident 
to  other  callers  that  Mr.  Palmer  was  not  insisting  on  it. 

Reporting  these  interviews  outside,  the  colonel  fre- 
quently said:  "I  am  very  close  to  A.  M.  Palmer." 

After  a  couple  of  years,  with  the  assistance  of  Mr. 
Augustus  Pitou,  who  signed  as  joint  author,  he  produced 
a  play  under  the  title  of  "Across  the  Potomac."  His 
second  play,  the  only  other  from  his  pen  as  I  remember 


that  was  produced,  was  "The  Louisianian,"  played  by 
Mantel.  In  Palmer's  office  Alfriend  met  Barrymore;  and 
Barry,  amused  by  the  old  gentleman's  punctilious  manner, 
his  pomposity,  and  a  mediocrity  that  warranted  predic- 
tion, carried  Alfriend  about  with  him  in  many  leisure 
hours.  One  of  Barry's  gentle  friends  wishing  to  embroider 
a  sofa  pillow,  a  Penelope  activity  then  not  fallen  into  neg- 
lect, asked  me  to  draw  in  outline  on  a  square  of  silk  a 
profile  of  herself  and  one  of  Barrymore.  After  I  had 
drawn  her  own  profile  I  said:  "How  close  to  that  do  you 
want  the  profile  of  Barry?" 

The  lady  said:  "About  as  close  as  Alfriend  is  to  Pal- 

Barrymore  introduced  the  colonel  to  me  and  insisted 
on  my  sharing  for  the  new  acquaintance  his  own  enthu- 
siasm. Later  Barry  found  a  furnished  flat,  fourth  floor, 
on  Thirty-fourth  Street  between  Seventh  and  Eighth 
avenues,  with  three  bedrooms,  a  little  parlor,  dining- 
room,  and  kitchen.  The  tenant  wanted  to  sublet  it 
furnished  for  forty  dollars  a  month.  Barrymore  thought 
it  would  be  an  ideal  arrangement  if  we  three — he,  the 
colonel,  and  I — should  take  this  flat  and  live  there.  We 
entered  upon  its  occupation.  A  rotund,  matronly  ne- 
gress,  the  janitress  for  the  building,  did  the  housework 
and  prepared  our  breakfasts.  Other  meals  we  took  out- 
side. I  don't  remember  a  happier  period. 

When  the  spring  came  and  the  fish  were  running  so 
thick  in  the  North  River  that  one  could  buy  a  five-pound 
shad  with  roe  for  thirty-five  cents,  General  George  Sheri- 
dan, having  sent  old  Sarah  word  the  night  before,  would 
appear  in  time  with  such  a  fish  in  a  brown  paper;  and 
as  Sarah,  under  his  instructions,  prepared  it  and  put  it 
on  the  breakfast  table  he  would  discourse  upon  it  and 


the  expert  way  to  separate  the  fibre  from  the  bones  with 
all  the  savory  interest  of  a  Colonel  Carter. 

During  those  five  months  in  the  Thirty-fourth  Street 
flat  I  wrote  two  plays,  both  under  arrangements  with 
Manager  J.  M.  Hill;  one  for  Sydney  Drew,  which  was 
never  produced;  another  adapted  from  the  German, 
which  was  produced  more  than  a  year  later  under  the 
title  of  "A  Night's  Frolic,"  with  Helen  Barry,  an  Eng- 
lish actress  of  more  than  masculine  stature,  in  the  prin- 
cipal role,  which  fortunately  required  that  most  of  her 
scenes  be  played  in  the  uniform  of  an  officer  of  the  chas- 
seurs. That  event  lives  principally  by  the  association 
of  one  of  its  least  important  members  at  that  time,  a 
singularly  active,  optimistic,  dark-haired  lad  of  some 
nineteen  or  twenty  years  named  John  L.  Golden.  It  is 
difficult  to  avoid  his  name  now  among  the  Broadway 
white  lights  with  his  presentations  of  "Turn  to  the 
Right,"  "Lightnin',"  "Thank  You,"  and  so  on. 

After  a  while  Barrymore's  enthusiasm  for  the  flat  sub- 
sided noticeably,  and  with  the  coming  of  the  summer 
we  abandoned  our  arrangement.  We  were  the  only  the- 
atrical menage  in  the  building,  so  I  doubt  if  we  could 
have  maintained  our  occupation  much  longer,  because 
during  our  last  month  there  I  heard  the  colonel,  whose 
point  of  view  old  Sarah  understood  perfectly,  tell  her 
to  ask  the  lady  on  the  floor  above  what  the  devil  she 
meant  by  moving  furniture  around  at  eleven  o'clock  in 
the  morning.  The  colonel  seldom  slept  more  than  six 
hours,  at  that.  He  wrote  his  plays  from  books  of  the 
vintage  of  the  "  Deserted  Village."  They  were  pitiably 
short,  but  filled  with  long  soliloquies,  and  all  of  them 
written  for  Barrymore.  Barrymore  listening  to  one  of 
these,  and  looking  to  me  for  help  would  have  been  an 


inspiring  subject  for  "When  a  Feller  Needs  a  Friend*'; 
but  with  his  diplomatic  skill  he  always  protested  himself 
an  unworthy  exponent.  One  spring  day  on  Broadway 
Barry  and  I,  walking  together,  saw  Wilton  Lackaye  ap- 
proaching us  with  menace  in  every  lineament. 

When  we  met  him  he  said:  "See  here,  what  do  you 
fellows  mean  by  sicking  the  colonel  onto  me?" 

After  leaving  the  Thirty-fourth  Street  flat  which  we 
three  men  had  leased  I  roomed  at  The  Lambs  Club  until 
I  left  it  to  take  an  apartment  with  my  wife  at  a  hotel. 
The  sojourn  at  The  Lambs  was  rich  in  experiences  which 
would  fill  a  volume  of  small  talk,  smaller  even  than  this. 
One  item  that,  notwithstanding  its  diminutive  propor- 
tions, I  feel  justified  in  describing,  was  of  a  parrot.  Par- 
rot stories  do  not  amuse  me,  because  as  a  rule  so  palpably 
invented;  but  as  Maeterlinck  has  written  some  asso- 
ciation between  happiness  and  the  bluebird,  I  will  tell 
of  this  green  one's  occasional  power. 

The  club  at  this  period  was  not  prosperous;  in  fact 
quite  the  contrary,  and  the  newly  organized  Players  had 
begun  to  draw  from  it  many  of  its  best  members.  The 
only  other  permanent  lodger  in  the  house  in  that  fall  of 
1890  was  the  owner  of  this  parrot,  John  B.  Miley,  a 
graduate  of  Dublin  University.  Mr.  Miley 's  business 
was  to  sell  wholesale,  on  commission,  fine  liquors  handled 
at  that  time  by  the  old-established  house  of  Roosevelt 
&  Schuyler.  Miley  was  proud  of  his  business  and  of  his 
wares,  and  as  self-respecting  as  if  a  discerning  monarch 
had  just  given  him  the  knighthood  recently  conferred 
upon  an  eminent  English  distiller.  The  parrot  had  been 
with  him  in  many  years  of  convivial  associations  that 
may  be  inferred,  but  it  had  learned  nothing  demoral- 
izing— no  profanity,  no  greetings,  no  call  for  biscuits;  but 


laughter  of  every  variety,  from  a  complimentary  chuckle 
to  the  hysteric  and  pained  abandonment  that  needs  help. 

Miley  occupied  the  little  hall  bedroom,  second  floor 
front,  in  which  Bishop  had  died.  He  was  an  industrious 
person,  and  went  early  to  his  business.  Alone  in  the 
club,  down-hearted  for  important  personal  reasons  that 
must  not  take  attention  here,  each  morning  as  I  reached 
Miley's  room  I  was  greeted  by  a  formal,  complimentary 
little  laugh  from  the  parrot.  It  was  my  custom  to  push 
the  door  farther  open,  speak  to  the  bird,  and  sometimes 
sit  on  the  bed  and  invite  his  specialty.  That  little  formal 
laugh  of  his,  encouraged  by  my  echo,  voluntary  only  at 
first,  would  grow  in  volume  and  expand  in  character 
until  it  revived  somewhat  of  all  the  merry  and  maybe 
dissolute  hours  of  exhilarated  companionship  that  Miley's 
trade  and  temperament  had  won;  laughs  of  a  superior 
clientele,  but  punctuated  occasionally  by  guffaws  of 
chance  and  cheaper  acquaintances,  and  by  concerted 
crescendo  effects  spraying  into  broken  vocables  as  some 
falsetto,  tearful  enthusiast  regurgled  the  point  of  the 
story.  I  was  a  poor  amateur  compared  to  Polly,  but 
together  we  could  fill  all  the  windows  on  both  sides  of 
Twenty-sixth  Street  with  matrons  and  housemaids,  sym- 
pathetically agrin  and  curious  as  to  the  disorderly  con- 
vocation at  The  Lambs.  It  was  a  great  way  to  start 
the  forenoon,  and  required  several  unpleasant  letters  of 
efficiency  experts  to  dissipate  Polly's  fiat  sunshine. 

In  the  spring  of  that  year  the  reputation  of  "The  Bur- 
glar" on  the  road  and  "A  Man  of  the  World"  at  the 
Madison  Square  Theatre  had  influenced  Mr.  Palmer  to 
ask  me  to  become  connected  with  that  fine  playhouse. 
Dion  Boucicault  was  then  under  a  regular  retainer  to 
patch  or  adapt  for  Mr.  Palmer  any  imported  play  that 


might  need  it,  and  also  to  give  him  first  option  on  any 
original  work,  subject,  of  course,  to  usual  royalty  terms. 
Boucicault  wished  to  retire.  After  a  study  of  the  rather 
limited  field,  still  more  limited  in  approachable  material, 
Mr.  Palmer  offered  me  the  Boucicault  desk  at  a  salary 
of  fifty  dollars  a  week  the  year  round.  He  had  been  pay- 
ing Boucicault  one  hundred,  and  told  me  I  could  follow 
the  theatrical  custom  and  say  outside  I  was  getting  the 
same;  but  that  never  became  necessary.  It  was  stipu- 
lated that  I  was  at  liberty  to  produce  "Reckless  Temple" 
and  "The  Correspondent,"  which  J.  M.  Hill  had  respec- 
tively for  Barrymore  and  Sidney  Drew.  This  Madison 
Square  engagement  was  a  substantial  addition  to  income, 
was  good  publicity,  and  a  fine  business  address.  I  was 
then  thirty-three  years  old. 

I  wrote  at  Mr.  Palmer's  request  "A  Constitutional 
Point"  for  Mrs.  Booth,  who  needed  a  one-act  play.  Mr. 
Palmer  thought  the  public  wouldn't  understand  it. 
Eighteen  years  later  I  expanded  it  to  four  acts  and  called 
it  "The  Witching  Hour."  For  Mrs.  Booth's  immediate 
need  I  wrote  another  one-act  play  called  "After- 
thoughts," which  she  did  successfully. 

"Reckless  Temple"  did  not  succeed  in  New  York,  and 
after  sixteen  weeks  on  the  road  Barrymore  came  back 
to  Palmer's  Madison  Square  Theatre,  where,  anticipat- 
ing both  those  events,  I  was  at  work  upon  a  play  with 
parts  in  it  for  all  the  company,  including  Barrymore. 
About  making  that  play  there  is  in  my  opinion  a  story 
of  some  psychological  as  well  as  pathological  interest. 

Men  differ  in  degree,  perhaps  in  kind,  in  their  capacity 
mentally  to  see  forms.  My  ability  to  draw  faces  from 
memory  leads  me  to  think  that  I  have  at  least  the  aver- 
age faculty.  Sometimes  in  the  dark,  with  no  external 


claim  upon  the  optic  nerve,  these  mental  pictures  seem 
faintly  objective.  Their  definition  is  not  perfect.  Against 
the  reddish-gray  background  that  closed  eyelids  bring 
there  will  appear  in  contrast  lines  of  a  lighter  gray.  These 
lines  are  not  fixed.  They  move.  At  times,  when  they 
take  on  resemblance  to  a  face,  imagination  running  just 
a  little  ahead  of  the  vision  will  muster  them  into  propor- 
tions of  perfect  drawing,  and  memory  can  manage  them 
into  portraits.  It  is  a  fact  in  pathology  that  under  fever 
nearly  everybody  sees  these  shapes.  In  drowsy  daylight 
figures  of  the  wall-paper  grow  fantastic,  move,  and  have 
expression.  In  his  most  excited  moments,  Martin  Luther, 
it  will  be  remembered,  could  not  banish  the  image  of  the 
devil  from  the  wall  of  his  cell,  and  there  used  to  be  shown 
a  spot  where  he  had  thrown  his  inkwell  at  this  negative 
invocation,  become  objective. 

After  the  production  of  "Reckless  Temple,"  and  some 
attendant  dissipations  and  demands  upon  me  physically, 
and  when  I  was  in  a  run-down  condition,  this  faculty 
of  such  seeing  was  feverishly  augmented.  Under  the 
doctor's  orders  I  had  resumed  strictly  regular  hours,  not 
the  easiest  recovery  in  The  Lambs.  One  night  before 
the  club  was  completely  quiet  I  was  trying  to  go  to 
sleep  in  the  dark.  At  the  piano  down-stairs  E.  M.  Hol- 
land was  playing  a  melody,  then  popular,  called  "Down 
on  the  Farm."  These  lines  in  the  dark  of  which  I  have 
written  assembled  into  definite  shape,  and  I  could  see 
before  me  more  plainly  than  many  a  stage  set  shows  in 
theatrical  light  two  posts  of  a  ruined  gateway,  one  stand- 
ing, the  other  fallen,  crumbled.  I  recognized  the  picture 
as  of  a  gateway  I  had  seen  in  Talladega  some  six  years 
before,  but  had  not  consciously  thought  of  since.  As  I 
looked  at  it  with  some  amusement  an  old  man  walked 


through  it,  stood  a  moment,  and  was  joined  by  a  young 
girl  who  took  him  by  the  arm  and  led  him  obliquely  out 
of  the  picture.  Two  or  three  times  this  little  action  was 
repeated  so  definitely  that  it  was  impossible  for  me  in 
any  way  to  connect  it  with  imagination,  although  the 
association  between  Holland's  tune,  with  its  rural,  senti- 
mental color,  and  this  picture  is  fairly  evident. 

There  was  nothing  unpleasant  about  this  visional  in- 
trusion, nor  was  there  such  persistence  that  I  felt  driven 
to  Luther's  protest.  This  little  gateway  and  its  two 
figures  played  somehow  through  my  dreams.  In  the 
morning  I  found  myself  interested  in  the  relationship  of 
the  two  people,  partly  trying  to  divine,  but  rather  drift- 
ing with,  their  story.  After  a  day  or  two  the  result  was 
a  one-act  sketch.  This  I  had  typed,  and  carried  it  to 
Mr.  Eugene  Presbrey,  stage-manager  for  Mr.  Palmer. 
Presbrey  was  enthusiastic  about  the  little  piece,  but  told 
me  it  was  a  mistake  to  play  it  in  that  form.  He  reminded 
me  that  "The  Burglar"  had  some  of  its  New  York  effect 
dulled  by  having  first  been  done  as  a  one-act  play,  and 
insisted  that  I  had  in  my  possession  the  nucleus  of  a  fine 
big  story.  He  saw  at  once  in  the  characters  a  part  for 
Stoddart  and  another  for  little  Miss  Agnes  Miller,  who 
was  the  ingenue  of  the  company  at  that  time.  There 
were  other  parts  for  Barrymore,  Ned  Bell,  and  Harry 

Under  Presbrey's  encouragement,  using  the  sketch  as 
a  third  act,  I  wrote  the  four-act  play  "Alabama."  I  had 
fun  with  the  Southern  colonel  in  the  piece,  whom  I  called 
Colonel  Moberly  and  whom  I  endowed  with  all  the  for- 
mality and  pomposity  of  our  Colonel  Alfriend.  There 
was  a  boy's  part  for  Harry  Woodruff,  and  a  fat  squire 
for  Charles  L.  Harris,  the  splendid  comedian  who  had 


been  with  us  in  "Reckless  Temple."  At  my  suggestion, 
after  hearing  the  scenario,  Mr.  Palmer  added  Harris  to 
his  company  and  used  him  in  two  or  three  plays  that 
were  produced  before  we  finally  reached  "Alabama." 

Ed  Holland  liked  the  idea  of  the  colonel  written  for 
him,  and  as  he  and  Woodruff  already  had  some  hint  con- 
cerning certain  scenes  in  which  they  were  together  they 
soon  began  to  greet  each  other  in  Southern  dialect  and 
manner.  The  membership  of  The  Lambs,  ignorant  of 
the  reason  for  this  assumption,  but  amused  by  it,  caught 
its  contagion,  and  in  a  little  while  the  club  was  apparently 
an  organization  of  two  hundred  Southern  colonels  all 
shooting  cuffs  and  stroking  phantom  but  magnificent 

The  play  was  finished  under  pressure  in  January  and 
read  to  the  company  on  the  stage.  Presbrey,  familiar 
with  it,  was  not  of  that  group,  but  in  his  little  office  near 
the  entrance  to  the  dressing-rooms. 

As  Mrs.  Booth  left  the  theatre  she  leaned  over  the 
closed  lower  half  of  Presbrey 's  Dutch  door  and  whis- 
pered to  him,  "Rotten,  thank  you!" 

When  we  reached  rehearsals  she  declined  to  play  the 
part  written  for  her  and  it  was  given  to  May  Brookyn, 
from  whom  she  reclaimed  it  shortly  after  the  piece  was 
produced.  After  rehearsing  "Alabama"  a  week  Mr. 
Palmer  lost  faith  in  it  and  replaced  it  with  one  of  his 
English  plays.  This  attack  and  retreat  were  repeated 
twice.  But  after  there  had  been  three  English  failures 
the  rehearsals  of  "Alabama"  in  a  spirit  of  desperation 
went  on  to  its  production  on  Wednesday,  April  i,  1891. 

In  these  varying  moods  Mr.  Palmer  lost  faith  not  only 
in  the  play  but  in  its  author,  and  one  dark  day  told  me 
that  when  the  year  of  our  contract  ended,  which  would 


be  in  May,  my  engagement  as  dramatist  extraordinary 
— that  was  my  title;  I  don't  know  why — would  cease. 
But  he  added  that  he  was  sending  on  a  first  tour  through 
the  country  Mr.  E.  S.  Willard  in  "The  Middleman," 
and  that  if  I  liked  I  could  go  ahead  of  him  as  publicity 
man.  He  would  pay  the  salary  I  had  earned  with  Bishop, 
one  hundred  dollars.  It  felt  like  a  slip  backward,  but 
as  a  newly  married  man  I  took  it.  The  plan  was  for  me 
to  leave  New  York  Sunday,  March  29,  and  have  two 
weeks  in  Chicago  before  Willard  opened. 

By  earnestly  protesting  that  I  didn't  need  all  that 
time  I  got  Mr.  Palmer's  permission  to  wait  until  early 
Thursday  morning,  and  thereby  on  Wednesday  night 
see  "Alabama"  open. 

Shortly  after  his  installation  as  Vice-President  of  the 
United  States  Theodore  Roosevelt  was  one  of  six  men 
who  came  to  the  home  of  Brander  Matthews  to  meet  at 
lunch  Mark  Twain,  recently  returned  from  a  trip  abroad. 
Colonel  Roosevelt  was  most  entertaining  throughout  the 
luncheon  with  reminiscences  of  Cuba. 

Pertinent  to  one  of  these  he  turned  to  Mark  Twain 
and  said:  "As  an  old  Confederate  soldier,  Mr.  Clemens, 
you  must  have  noticed  the  nervousness  of  the  bravest 
men  upon  going  into  battle." 

Mark  took  his  cigar  from  under  his  white  mustache, 
and  with  a  dreamy  squint  replied:  "Oh,  yes,  I  know  that 
nervousness  of  brave  men  going  into  battle,  and  I  had 
the  quality  of  maintaining  it  all  through  the  engage- 

The  playwright  never  gets  so  experienced  that  a  pro- 
duction is  not  an  occasion  of  nervousness.  An  inexperi- 
enced one  whose  play  has  been  set  aside  three  times  be- 
cause of  the  manager's  distrust  has  more  nervousness 


than  the  brave  man  going  into  battle.  On  the  first  night 
of  "Alabama"  mine  was  augmented  by  an  almost  panic 
condition  of  Mr.  Palmer.  Although  quite  unknown  to 
anybody  that  mattered,  I  sought  a  further  obscurity  by 
standing  behind  a  post  in  the  gallery.  A  similar  timid 
figure  in  the  shadows  across  the  aisle  attracted  my  at- 
tention. It  was  Mr.  Palmer.  When  the  first  curtain 
fell  with  mingled  laughter  and  applause,  the  most  de- 
sirable response  a  company  can  ask  for,  Mr.  Palmer 
looked  at  me,  his  eyebrows  lifted  in  an  inquiry  mixed 
with  astonishment. 

Friends  of  Mr.  Palmer  will  remember  his  regular  fea- 
tures and  intellectual  and  distinguished  expression;  also 
his  large,  pale  eyes.  He  also  had  rather  full  gray  side 
whiskers,  decorations  not  so  uncommon  then  as  since 
the  introduction  of  the  safety  razor. 

These  facial  forms  and  effects,  his  white  lawn  tie,  and 
his  look  of  shocked  surprise  carried  the  uncomfortable 
suggestion  of  some  interrupted  mortuary  function.  Four 
or  five  curtain  calls  and  the  mood  in  which  the  audience 
had  taken  this  blandest  of  our  four  acts  gave  me  courage 
to  go  to  the  balcony  for  the  second  one. 

With  similar  but  more  pronounced  responses  after 
that,  and  finding  that  Mr.  Palmer  had  also  ventured 
down  to  my  level,  I  threw  all  caution  to  the  wind  and 
said:  "I'm  going  to  see  the  rest  of  this  performance  from 
the  ground  floor." 

When  the  play  was  over  it  seemed  to  me  we  had  been 
in  the  presence  of  a  success,  but  Mr.  Palmer  was  not 
able  to  lift  his  spirits  from  the  depression  of  the  disas- 
trous season,  so  that  despite  the  congratulations  of  many 
friends  I  went  to  bed  uncertain. 

My  wife  and  I  at  that  time  were  in  our  first  apartment 


in  the  old  Oriental  Hotel,  opposite  the  Casino.  As  we 
had  to  take  an  early  train  for  Chicago,  we  agreed  not 
to  look  at  any  of  the  papers  until  we  should  have  had  an 
undisturbed  breakfast  and  were  alone  together  on  the 
train,  speeding  from  police  detention.  I  gave  her  the 
paper  in  which  I  felt  I  would  get  the  most  considerate 
treatment,  and  took  myself  the  one  I  believed  most  hos- 
tile. Its  very  head-lines  disarmed  me.  I  looked  up  and 
met  an  enthusiastic  glow  imparted  by  the  notice  she  had 
read.  We  hurriedly  went  at  the  other  papers.  The  press 
was  unanimous.  "Alabama'*  seemed  the  surprise  of  the 
season,  and  was  characterized  in  terms  almost  too  lauda- 
tory to  refer  to  except  by  proxy. 

In  Chicago,  as  Willard's  advance  man,  my  calls  at 
the  newspaper  offices  were  exciting,  owing  to  telegraphic 
reports  about  the  New  York  first  night,  and  the  dramatic 
men  were  kind.  But  that  day  an  ailment  that  had  been 
threatening  became  acute,  and  I  had  to  submit  to  an 
operation  under  ether  that  put  me  in  bed  for  the  next 
ten  days.  During  that  time  the  men  on  the  Chicago 
papers  gave  me  all  the  help  I  could  take.  I  was  told  that 
whatever  I  got  to  them  concerning  Willard  would  find 
space.  Thus  encouraged,  I  dictated  to  my  wife  long 
specials  for  each  paper,  which  she  carried  to  the  offices, 
and  I  doubt  if  any  theatrical  attraction  ever  went  into 
Chicago  or  any  other  American  city  with  better  publicity 
than  those  generous  fellows  handed  us. 

Presbrey  kept  me  informed  of  the  play  in  New  York, 
where  it  was  doing  capacity  business,  and  the  royalty 
checks  made  me  think  of  the  first  time  I  had  ever  sat 
in  an  overstuffed  chair.  We  got  the  New  York  papers 
every  day;  the  ads  and  paragraphs  were  fine,  and  some 
of  the  papers  carried  editorials  about  the  play,  inquiring 



if  New  York  managers  had  not  made  mistakes  in  leaning 
on  the  imported  article  when  native  subjects  seemed  so 
acceptable.  And  then  in  the  midst  of  all  of  it  came  a 
long  telegram  from  Nat  Goodwin  asking  me  to  write  a 
serious  play  for  him,  to  choose  my  own  subject,  and  offer- 
ing a  royalty  of  i  o  per  cent  of  the  gross  receipts,  with  an 
advance  of  twenty-five  hundred  dollars.  I  agreed  to  do  it. 

With  the  Willard  company  Mr.  Palmer  came  into  the 
city,  delighted  with  conditions  in  New  York  and  heartily 
approving  all  those  he  found  in  Chicago.  I  passed  the 
credit  for  the  display  to  the  men  to  whom  it  belonged, 
especially  to  a  young  writer  named  Kirke  La  Shelle, 
whom  Mr.  Palmer  engaged  that  week  to  take  the  place 
with  the  Willard  company,  which  for  sufficient  reasons  I 
was  giving  up.  La  Shelle  later  became  a  theatrical  cap- 
tain, and  produced  for  me  "Arizona,"  "The  Earl  of  Paw- 
tucket,"  "The  Bonnie  Briar  Bush,"  and  "The  Education 
of  Mr.  Pipp."  Mr.  Palmer  asked  me  to  forget  his  ter- 
minating our  contract  and  to  go  on  under  the  old  ar- 
rangements for  another  year.  He  consented  to  my  writ- 
ing the  play  for  Goodwin,  which  he  expected  from  the 
optional  claims  of  our  Madison  Square  agreement. 

There  were  more  checks  from  New  York,  and  this 
twenty-five  hundred  dollars  from  Goodwin.  I  was  able, 
with  a  cane,  to  get  about  comfortably.  I  had  been  away 
from  St.  Louis  for  twenty  months.  We  went  home  to 
see  the  folks.  Crossing  the  Eads  Bridge  in  the  morning 
I  got  to  thinking  of  Whitlock,  alias  Jim  Cummings,  who 
robbed  the  Missouri-Pacific  express-car  to  cancel  the 
mortgage  on  his  mother's  home,  and  I  felt  ashamed  of 
myself.  My  mother  then  lived  in  a  rented  place.  I  didn't 
tell  her  my  inspiration,  but  we  went  together  and  picked 
out  a  house. 


In  the  middle  of  April,  1891,  after  Mr.  E.  S.  Willard, 
for  whom  I  was  serving  as  publicity  man,  opened  his 
mid- Western  tour  in  Chicago  as  Cyrus  Blenkarn  in  Henry 
Arthur  Jones'  play  "The  Middleman/'  with  Marie  Bur- 
roughs as  his  featured  support,  my  wife  and  I  went  to 
St.  Louis,  and  afterward  to  the  Minnesota  lakes  and  the 
Northwest.  We  returned  to  Chicago  in  the  middle  of 
May  to  see  the  Western  opening  of  my  play,  "Alabama," 
which  had  been  forced  out  of  New  York  by  a  summer 
sublease  of  the  Madison  Square  Theatre.  My  father 
and  mother  came  from  St.  Louis  to  see  that  first  night 
and  visit  us  a  few  days  in  Chicago,  where  I  tramped  over 
the  crowded  down-town  streets  with  father  hunting  land- 
marks of  the  small  town  he  had  known  as  a  printer  and 
medical  student  in  his  youth.  The  first  week  in  June 
the  parents  went  back  to  St.  Louis  and  my  wife  and  I 
returned  to  New  York. 

Under  my  arrangements  with  Mr.  Palmer  I  had  re- 
written parts  of  "John  Needham's  Double,"  a  play  by 
the  English  author,  Mr.  Joseph  Hatton,  produced  Feb- 
ruary 4,  1891,  by  Willard  at  Palmer's  Theatre.  This  re- 
write was  after  I  had  completed  "Alabama,"  but  before 
that  play  was  produced.  An  account  of  it  in  this  place 
is  a  little  out  of  such  time  order  as  I  have  attempted, 
but  not  enough  to  make  the  dislocation  jar.  Hatton  had 

put  into  his  play  a  supposedly  Southern  colonel  whom  he 



called  Silas  Higgins,  or  something  of  that  kind,  and  who 
talked  about  nutmegs  and  apple-sauce.  Mr.  Palmer 
asked  me  to  make  this  character  proper  to  its  section 
not  only  in  name  and  in  speech,  but  in  view-point  and 
relation  to  the  story.  I  wrote  a  character  which  I  called 
Colonel  Calboun  Booker.  Mr.  Palmer,  at  my  sugges- 
tion, engaged  for  the  part  Burr  Mclntosh,  at  that  time 
about  thirty  years  of  age,  fairly  prominent  in  the  Bo- 
hemian life  of  New  York,  celebrated  for  his  good  nature 
and  his  willingness  to  take  chances,  and  for  a  pronounced 
mimetic  faculty.  Palmer  knew  nothing  of  Mclntosh, 
but  I  had  heard  him  tell  stories  at  the  clubs  and  was  sure 
he  had  the  foundation  for  the  part.  With  Palmer's  per- 
mission I  stressed  Colonel  Calboun  Booker's  importance 
in  the  play,  feeling  that  its  presentation  would  be  a  ballon 
d'essai  for  "Alabama,"  which  was  to  follow;  and  I  be- 
lieve that  the  success  of  Mclntosh  helped  determine 
Mr.  Palmer  to  go  through  with  it. 

"Needham's  Double"  was  one  of  those  plays  of  dual 
personality,  resembling  in  kind  "The  Lyons  Mail."  It 
was  invented  and  unlikely,  and  on  the  first  night  in  New 
York  Mclntosh,  with  his  breezy  manner  and  his  welcome 
Southern  geniality,  would  have  walked  away  with  the 
honors  if  the  opposition  had  not  been  a  star  in  large  type. 
He  played  the  part  during  its  short  run  and  left  it  to 
do  Colonel  Moberly  in  the  second  company  of  "Alabama." 

After  the  original  "Alabama"  company  played  its 
New  York  and  Chicago  engagements,  and  before  it  re- 
opened at  Palmer's  in  the  fall  of  1892,  it  went  to  Louis- 
ville. Mr.  Palmer  asked  me  to  go  there  and  look  over 
the  performance.  The  Louisville  engagement  was  in  the 
fine  old  playhouse  belonging  to  the  Macauleys,  so  dear 
to  me  in  memory  of  Johnny  Norton  and  the  more  recent 


visit  of  Marlowe.  Henry  Watterson  saw  to  it  that  our 
first  night  was  a  gala  occasion,  and  the  men  of  the  com- 
pany were  invited  to  a  midnight  reception  at  the  Pen- 
dennis  Club.  Marse  Henry  was  in  his  element,  ably 
aided  by  those  Kentuckians  who  have  the  Southern  in- 
stinct amounting  to  genius  for  hospitality  and  enter- 
tainment. At  an  effective  moment  in  the  evening  he  got 
the  attention  of  the  party — close  on  to  a  hundred  men, 
I  should  say — and  with  his  arm  through  mine  in  the 
centre  of  the  floor  explained  the  circumstances  under 
which  our  acquaintance  had  been  made,  and  claimed  to 
be  proud  that  I  was  a  product  of  a  newspaper  office. 

Then  shifting  his  arm  over  my  shoulder,  a  habit  he 
had  with  any  younger  fellow  he  thought  it  would  help, 
and  reverting  to  the  play,  the  subject  of  which  was  the 
reconciliation  of  the  two  great  political  sections  of  the 
country,  he  said:  'This  boy  has  done  in  one  night  in 
the  theatre  what  I  endeavored  to  do  in  twenty  years  of 
editorial  writing." 

No  half-way  measures  about  wonderful  Henry  Watter- 
son, gone  since  I  last  wrote  of  him  in  these  chapters. 

With  the  opening  of  Palmer's  at  this  time,  the  little 
Madison  Square  Theatre  passed  into  the  control  of 
Messrs.  Hoyt  and  Thomas.  Charles  Hoyt  was  the  au- 
thor of  a  line  of  comedies  as  distinct  in  their  kind  and 
for  their  day  as  the  George  Cohan  plays  are  three  decades 

There  was  in  the  business  department  of  the  theatre 
of  America  at  that  time  a  relationship  of  forces  worthy 
of  comment  here.  Those  forces  were  then  functioning 
principally  in  New  York.  Although  perhaps  traceable 
to  more  remote  origins,  they  focussed  and  funneled 
through  the  chanels  of  publicity. 


The  principal  managers,  like  Wallack,  Daly,  Palmer, 
Daniel  Frohman,  had  been  accustomed  to  get  their  plays 
from  the  other  side  of  the  water.  American  playwrights, 
compared  with  to-day's  number,  were  few,  their  triumphs 
not  numerous;  but  in  the  '8o's  there  had  been  some  not- 
able successes  with  American  subjects:  Florence  had 
played  Woolfs  "The  Mighty  Dollar"  to  extraordinary 
business;  Curtis  had  had  success  with  "Samuel  of 
Posen";  Raymond  had  made  a  fortune  with  Colonel 
Sellers  in  Mark  Twain's  "Gilded  Age";  Denman  Thomp- 
son, under  the  encouragement  of  his  manager,  J.  M. 
Hill,  had  elaborated  a  vaudeville  sketch  into  "The  Old 
Homestead."  Concurrently  with  these  American  plays 
on  the  road  was  a  cycle  of  big  productions  of  English 
melodrama  like  "Romany  Rye,"  "The  Silver  King," 
"The  World,"  "Hoodman  Blind,"  "Lights  o'  London," 
and  the  like,  the  exploitation  of  which  throughout  the 
country  had  developed  a  school  of  publicity  men  who 
knew  accurately  what  part  skilful  press  work  played  in 
all  these  successes.  They  also  had  a  thorough  knowledge 
of  the  respective  values  of  the  patronage  to  be  obtained 
in  the  various  cities.  This  experience  and  this  knowledge 
had  come  along  together  with  the  rapid  growth  of  the 
country  upon  which  both  depended,  and  while  the  older 
managers,  content  with  their  local  triumphs  in  New  York 
and  Boston,  gave  their  attention  to  those  centres,  these 
lesser  agents  and  the  publicity  men  referred  to  were  wide- 
awake to  the  value  of  the  road. 

Just  back  of  Palmer's  Theatre,  both  formerly  and 
later  Wallack's,  on  Thirtieth  Street,  in  the  basement  of 
what  had  been  a  dwelling-house,  was  the  office  of  Jeffer- 
son, Klaw,  and  Erlanger.  The  Jefferson  of  this  firm  was 
Charles  Jefferson,  eldest  son  of  Joseph  Jefferson.  Klaw 


and  Erlanger  need  no  identification  now;  but  even  at 
that  time  A.  L.  Erlanger  was  one  of  the  best  informed 
of  the  men  of  whom  I  am  writing. 

At  1115  Broadway,  near  Twenty-fifth  Street,  in  a 
rear  room,  Charles  Frohman  had  his  first  office  under  his 
own  name.  He  was  another  of  these  men. 

Erlanger's  genius  was  of  the  synthetic  kind;  he  had 
the  faculty  of  combination.  Very  rapidly,  under  his 
activity,  there  was  built  up  the  first  big  syndicate  of 
American  theatres  controlling  the  best  time  on  the  road. 
Charles  Frohman's  vision  was  the  supplementing  one  of 
producer.  He  also  knew  the  country,  the  tastes  of  the 
people,  and  had  an  uncanny  flair  for  what  would  be  ac- 
ceptable. But  both  men,  and  lesser  ones  with  whom 
they^were  associated,  approached  the  whole  theatrical 
question  along  the  lines  of  availability  and  salesman- 
ship. What  were  the  things  for  which  there  was  a  mar- 
ket, and  how  rapidly  could  the  public  interest  in  them 
be  created,  stimulated,  and  expanded?  These  two  sets 
of  managers,  the  Palmer-Daly-Daniel  Frohman  group 
on  one  side,  and  the  Charles  Frohman-Hayman-Erlanger 
group  on  the  other,  approached  the  business  from  entirely 
different  points  and  with  entirely  different  methods.  An 
example  of  approach  and  method  is  furnished  by  "Ala- 
bama." When  that  play  was  produced  in  April,  1891, 
there  was  ahead  of  it  in  the  Madison  Square  Theatre 
but  four  weeks.  After  that  time  Mr.  Palmer  had  rented 
his  theatre  for  Martha  Morton's  play,  "The  Merchant," 
and  although  "Alabama"  immediately  played  to  ca- 
pacity and  would  have  rapidly  restored  the  failing  for- 
tunes of  Mr.  Palmer,  it  never  occurred  to  him  to  depart 
from  the  arrangement  made  to  sublet  his  theatre.  To 
get  ready  money,  he  was  therefore  obliged  to  sell  a  half 


interest  in  the  play  to  Charles  Frohman  and  AI  Hayman. 
Both  these  men  urged  him  to  continue  its  run  at  the 
Madison  Square.  They  argued  that  Miss  Morton's 
play  was  as  yet  untried;  that  other  theatres  as  suitable 
as  the  Madison  Square  could  be  got  for  it  in  the  city,  and 
that  Miss  Morton  had  no  right  other  than  the  most  tech- 
nical one,  and  none  whatever  in  justice,  to  impair  Mr. 
Palmer's  property  by  forcing  it  out  of  a  theatre  where 
it  had  such  momentum.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  new 
partners  were  right.  Miss  Morton's  manager  would 
have  benefited  rather  than  have  lost  by  some  financial 
accommodation  that  would  have  deferred  their  premiere. 
"The  Merchant"  was  produced  in  warm  weather  and 
was  not  successful. 

Charles  Frohman  knew  nearly  all  the  men  then  play- 
ing in  the  American  theatre.  He  had  travelled  with 
Haverly's  and  Callender's  Minstrels,  with  modest  ven- 
tures of  his  own;  he  was  a  most  approachable  and  hu- 
man person,  and  with  his  little  office  just  one  flight  of 
stairs  up  from  the  Broadway  sidewalk,  where  anybody 
entered  without  knocking  in  those  days,  his  acquaintance 
and  his  popularity  rapidly  grew.  After  "Shenandoah" 
he  acquired  a  lease  of  the  Twenty-third  Street  Theatre, 
between  Sixth  and  Seventh  avenues,  and  produced  "Men 
and  Women,"  by  Belasco  and  De  Mille,  on  the  model  of 
the  plays  they  were  then  supplying  the  Lyceum.  This 
was  followed  by  other  dramas  and  a  string  of  farces  pro- 
vided by  the  skilfully  original  as  well  as  adapting  pen  of 
William  Gillette.  This  success  built  for  him  the  still 
beautiful  Empire  Theatre  at  Broadway  and  Fortieth 
Street,  which  he  opened  with  Belasco's  fine  melodrama, 
"The  Girl  I  Left  Behind  Me,"  in  which  Frank  Mordaunt, 
William  Morris,  Theodore  Roberts,  and  others  appeared 
with  the  boy  actor,  Wallie  Eddinger,  as  Dick. 


Clay  M.  Greene,  in  a  burlesque  of  that  play,  had  the 
colonel  in  agony,  reading  news  of  an  injury  to  little  Dick, 
hand  the  telegraph  tape  to  the  major  and  say:  "Take 
it.  I  must  get  back." 

"Back  where?" 

"To  the  centre  of  the  stage." 

PII  talk  about  me. 

We  were  friends,  Charles  Frohman  and  I,  from  our 
first  meeting  in  1882  until  he  was  lost  on  the  Lusitania 
in  1915 — thirty-three  years.  After  1892  he  produced 
nine  plays  of  mine — "Surrender/*  "Colorado,"  "The 
Man  Upstairs,"  "The  Other  Girl,"  "Mrs.  LeffingweH's 
Boots,"  "De  Lancey,"  "On  the  Quiet,"  "The  Harvest 
Moon,"  and  "Indian  Summer,"  and  five  others  which 
I  had  rewritten  but  did  not  sign.  I  don't  remember  that 
we  ever  signed  a  contract,  and  I  am  sure  that  we  never 
had  a  difference.  He  was  among  the  first  men  upon  whom 
I  called  when  I  first  came  to  New  York  to  go  with  the 
Marlowe  company,  and  when  I  returned  with  the  thought- 
reader  Bishop.  He  was  the  first  manager  to  ask  me  for  a 
play  after  my  coming  to  the  city.  I  wrote  for  him  many 
bits  not  mentioned  above.  These  little  things  were  often 
written  in  his  presence  as  he  pushed  a  piece  of  paper 
across  the  desk  when  a  subject  came  up  in  some  related 
talk.  He  had  a  fashion  of  doing  that  with  other  play- 
wrights— Gillette,  or  Fitch,  or  Carleton — and  it  was  great 
fun  to  give  him  some  bit  for  one  of  his  girl  stars  and  hear 
him  say,  "That  will  go  in  to-night." 

There  was  never  any  talk  of  remuneration  for  these 
little  things,  as  the  burden  of  obligation,  if  obligation 
existed,  was  always  so  heavily  on  the  other  side  for  the 
hundreds  of  little  courtesies  that  he  found  one  way  or 
another  of  extending.  Charles  Frohman  had  a  fine  dra- 

From  a  photograph  by  Underwood  and  Underwood.     Copyright  by  Daniel  Frohman. 


matic  sense,  and  without  attempting  exactly  imitation 
had  the  mimetic  faculty  that  suggested  the  object  of 
his  protrait  quite  as  definitely.  Men  amused  him  much, 
and  when  he  told  of  his  last  visitor  the  interview  was 
likely  to  be  vividly  dramatized.  I  remember  a  report 
of  a  visit  of  Colonel  Alfriend,  the  Southern  author  of 
whom  I  have  written. 

C.  F.,  with  his  irresistible  twinkle,  said,  "The  colonel 
was  here  to  see  me,"  and  then  without  another  word 
there  was  the  pantomime  of  the  high  hat  laid  carefully 
on  the  table,  one  finger  after  another  of  one  glove  care- 
fully withdrawn,  then  the  entire  glove  straightened  out 
and  laid  across  the  hat;  the  same  treatment  for  the  other 
hand;  the  silk-faced  overcoat  carefully  taken  off,  shaken 
out  at  the  collar,  folded,  laid  over  the  back  of  the  chair; 
the  button  of  the  surtout  carefully  adjusted  at  the  waist; 
mustaches  stroked,  and  the  victim  transfixed  with  a 
steady  and  piercing  gaze.  The  scenario  of  a  play  was 
drawn  from  one  inside  breast-pocket. 

But  C.  F.,  in  propria,  interrupted — "I  am  going  to 
do  a  play  by  J.  M.  Barrie  for  Miss  Adams.  If  you  had 
brought  me  in  something  for  Miller " 

Then  C.  F.  was  stopped;  another  scenario  came  from 
the  other  inside  pocket.  This  was  not  exactly  the  kind 
of  story  that  was  wanted.  Then,  still  as  the  colonel, 
C.  F.  put  one  hand  over  his  head  like  the  legendary  Wes- 
terner getting  a  bowie  knife,  and  drew  a  third  phantom 
scenario  from  the  back  of  his  coat  collar,  this  last  gesture 
burlesque,  but  so  in  character  that  it  was  impossible  to 
find  the  line  dividing  it  from  preceding  comedy. 

Charles  Frohman  had  a  bit  of  philosophy  that  he  car- 
ried through  life.  He  had  learned  that  existence  was 
supportable  if  he  had  one  real  laugh  in  the  day.  Among 


men  interested  in  art  and  the  theatre  as  connoisseurs  and 
patrons  the  wisest  that  I  know  is  Mr.  Thomas  B.  Clarke. 
I  was  at  a  loss  to  comprehend  his  standard  of  excellence 
in  the  drama  until  I  heard  him  say  one  time  that  any 
play  which  for  two  consecutive  seconds  made  him  for- 
get himself,  made  the  playhouse  disappear  and  him  to 
feel  that  he  was  in  the  presence  of  a  real  event,  was  for 
him  a  notable  play.  He  said: 

"One  seldom  gets  from  a  studio  a  canvas  of  uniform 
excellence  throughout.  There  will  be  one  feature  of  it 
better  than  the  others.  I  can  prize  it  for  that  feature. 
And  if  I  get  a  play  with  the  scene  I  have  indicated,  I  go 
three  or  four  times  when  the  scene  is  on  to  get  the  same 
pleasure  from  it  that  I  get  from  the  excellent  note  in  a 

C.  F.  seemed  to  apply  an  equal  theory  to  relaxation 
and  the  day's  conduct.  The  thing  that  amused  him  he 
would  write  upon  a  blotting-pad,  and  recover  somewhat 
of  its  joy  by  telling  it  to  many  a  subsequent  visitor.  Dur- 
ing the  rehearsals  of  "The  Other  Girl"  referred  to  in 
previous  chapters  we  had  on  our  third  or  fourth  day 
reached  the  first  repetition  of  the  second  act.  I  was  on 
the  stage  with  manuscript  and  a  blue  pencil,  the  com- 
pany standing  about,  slowly  marking  positions  on  the 
parts,  when  C.  F.'s  office-boy  came  with  an  envelope 
carrying  across  its  back  the  well-known  blue  display  of 
Maude  Adams'  name.  As  the  boy  waited  for  an  answer 
the  rehearsal  stopped  long  enough  for  me  to  read  the 
sheet  inside. 

It  carried  in  large  and  hurried  handwriting,  in  colored 
crayon,  "How  are  you  getting  along  at  rehearsals  with- 
out me?" 

Taking  the  inquiry  at  its  face  value  from  a  busy  man, 


I  wrote  across  the  note  one  word,  "Great,"  handed  ft 
to  the  boy,  and  forgot  it.  Two  days  later  I  stopped  in 
at  the  office  for  some  necessary  conference.  His  letter 
with  my  comment  was  pinned  on  the  wall. 

He  said:  "That  furnished  me  laughs  for  two  days. 
I  showed  it  to  everybody." 

He  was  also  a  practical  joker,  and  would  go  to  con- 
siderable lengths,  but  never  with  any  of  the  cruelty  or 
lack  of  consideration  that  practical  jokes  sometimes 
breed.  When  "Alabama"  went  on  its  second  visit  to 
Chicago  he  was  interested  in  the  management. 

He  said:  "I'll  bet  you  that  it'll  do  a  bigger  business 
than  it  did  the  first  time." 

As  it  was  to  be  in  the  same  house  and  we  had  played 
to  capacity  the  first  time,  I  didn't  see  how  that  could 
be,  and  said  so.  He  wanted  to  bet,  nevertheless,  and 
rejecting  cigars  and  hats  as  stakes  he  fixed  upon  a  suit 
of  clothes.  I  demurred,  feeling  that  it  was  unsportsman- 
like to  bet  on  a  sure  thing.  He  generously  gave  me  that 
advantage,  however.  The  business  on  the  second  trip 
was  nearly  double,  because  of  the  fact,  of  which  C.  F. 
was  aware,  and  I  not  when  he  made  the  bet,  that  the 
play  had  been  chosen  for  the  local  police  benefit  and  all 
patrolmen  of  Chicago  were  selling  tickets.  The  increased 
royalties  reconciled  me  to  the  loss  of  the  bet.  The  bill 
for  the  suit  of  clothes  came  in  with  C.  F.'s  indorsement. 
The  price,  one  hundred  dollars,  amused  him  greatly. 
We  must  remember  that  back  in  1892  fifty  or  sixty  dol- 
lars was  a  fair  sum  for  a  suit  of  clothes.  C.  F.  was  fond 
of  telling  all  this  when  he  had  me  and  some  other  man 
in  his  office. 

Considerably  later  he  was  to  open  with  a  new  play, 
the  name  of  which  did  not  please  him.  On  his  blotter 


he  had  a  half-dozen  alternative  titles  suggested  by  per- 
sons who  had  called  during  the  day.  The  man  who  gave 
the  winning  title  was  to  get  a  suit  of  clothes.  He  told 
me  the  story.  I  suggested  "Never  Again,"  which  C.  F. 
wrote  on  the  blotter  and  said  would  be  taken  under  con- 
sideration. My  wife  and  I  dined  down  town  that  night 
and  went  to  a  play.  As  we  were  coming  up  town  to  the 
Grand  Central  Station  all  of  the  exposed  ash-barrels, 
boxes,  and  temporary  scaffolds  were  being  covered  with 
snipe  advertising  of  "Never  Again."  I  went  to  an  ex- 
pensive firm  and  ordered  their  best  suit;  the  price  was 
one  hundred  dollars.  I  asked  them  if  there  wasn't  some 
way  to  increase  it,  and  after  fastidious  additions  induced 
them  to  boost  it  to  one  hundred  and  fifteen.  C.  F.  added 
that  to  his  story. 

With  the  success  of  "Alabama"  the  continued  avidity 
of  the  public  for  the  Southern  type  drew  Mr.  Palmer's  at- 
tention to  "  Colonel  Carter,"  by  Francis  Hopkinson  Smith. 
The  story,  which  had  appeared  in  one  of  the  magazines, 
was  already  in  book  form  and  was  probably  a  best  seller; 
one  heard  of  it  everywhere.  I  had  carte  blanche  as  to 
material,  but  felt  a  little  overawed  by  the  popularity  of 
the  book  and  the  authority  of  its  author.  The  play  was 
only  mildly  successful,  but  it  marked  a  very  notable 
date  in  my  own  affairs,  a  friendship  with  that  man  of 
such  extraordinary  versatility,  Hop  Smith,  as  his  friends 
called  him,  that  lasted  until  his  death  in  1915.  I  have  at 
hand  no  scrap-book  to  spring  upon  the  defenseless  reader, 
but  I  think  it  an  act  of  simple  justice  to  the  author  of 
the  book  to  quote  from  "The  Wallet  of  Time,"  by  Wil- 
liam Winter,  America's  greatest  critic  of  the  theatre: 

"Coming  as  it  did  at  a  time  when  the  stage  was  being 
freely  used  for  the  dissection  of  turpitude  and  disease, 


that  play  came  like  a  breeze  from  the  pine-woods  in  a 
morning  of  spring."  And  of  the  wonderful  artist,  dear 
Ned  Holland,  he  writes:  "His  success  was  decisive.  The 
Colonel — with  his  remarkable  black  coat  that  could  be 
adjusted  for  all  occasions  by  a  judicious  manipulation 
of  the  buttons,  his  frayed  wristbands,  his  shining  trou- 
sers, his  unconsciously  forlorn  poverty,  and  his  unquench- 
able spirit  of  hope,  Jove,  and  honor — was,  in  that  remark- 
able performance,  a  picturesque,  lovable  reality." 

With  the  production  of  "Carter"  completed,  and  with 
plays  for  Goodwin,  Crane,  and  Charles  Frohman  to  write, 
I  ended  my  connection  with  Mr.  Palmer  and  turned  to 
the  wider  field.  Mr.  Palmer  had  about  decided  to  aban- 
don management  anyway,  although,  with  his  caution 
over  any  considered  step,  he  did  not  do  so  for  two  years. 

During  those  two  years  he  produced  "Trilby"  at  the 
Garden  Theatre  and  one  or  two  plays  at  his  own  house, 
in  which  the  beautiful  Maxine  Elliott  made  her  first  ap- 
pearance. Mr.  Palmer,  who  had  been  a  public  librarian 
in  his  youth,  was  the  most  cultivated  manager  I  knew 
personally — I  never  met  Augustin  Daly.  But  Mr.  Pal- 
mer's culture  made  him  timid  in  a  business  that  was  fast 
offering  premiums  for  adventure.  I  remember  the  melan- 
choly of  the  man  in  his  gradual  retirement,  as  during 
that  period  he  said  to  me:  "I'm  an  old  man" — he  was 
considerably  under  sixty  at  the  time — "and  I  cannot 
compete  with  these  younger  men  who  are  coming  into 
the  field."  He  named  particularly  Charles  Frohman  and 
Mr.  Erlanger. 

It  would  be  of  interest  to  remember  the  kind  of  world 
in  which  we  then  were  living  in  that  period  beginning  in 
1892  and  covering  the  next  five  years  of  which  I  now 
write.  The  President  of  the  United  States  was  Grover 


Cleveland.  William  McKinley  was  Governor  of  Ohio. 
Roswell  P.  Flower  was  Governor  of  New  York.  The 
State  of  Massachusetts  had  just  elected  to  the  United 
States  Senate,  to  succeed  the  veteran  Senator  Dawes,  a 
person  comparatively  young  and  described  as  a  man  of 
letters,  named  Henry  Cabot  Lodge.  The  national  legis- 
lature was  considering  the  favorable  report  of  a  Senate 
committee  upon  a  proposed  Nicaragua  Canal.  We  had 
reached  a  decision  that  it  was  essential  to  have  our  Navy 
doubled.  Gold  had  been  discovered  in  quantities  in 
Colorado,  and  there  was  an  excited  movement  to  that 
State.  Andrew  Carnegie  and  Henry  Frick,  declining  to 
consult  with  their  men,  with  whom  they  were  having 
some  labor  disputes,  had  been  responsible  for  the  pre- 
cipitation of  the  Homestead  trouble. 

On  the  other  side  of  the  water  Charles  Stewart  Parnell 
had  just  died  under  something  of  a  cloud.  In  England 
Gladstone  was  preparing  to  retire  from  the  premiership 
after  explaining  his  home-rule  bill.  Bismarck  was  being 
charged  by  the  Socialists  of  Germany  with  corrupting 
the  press  with  money  improperly  collected.  There  was 
a  famine  in  Russia.  In  France  Ferdinand  de  Lesseps 
had  been  indicted  because  of  irregularity  in  the  conduct 
of  the  Panama  Canal  enterprise;  five  deputies  and  five 
senators  were  under  arrest  charged  with  complicity  there- 
in. Deputies  Clemenceau  and  Deroulede  had  fought  a 
duel,  firing  three  shots  at  each  other,  and  concluded  by 
shaking  hands. 


Thomas  F.  Gilroy  was  mayor  of  New  York  City;  the 
community  was  busy  discussing  rapid  transit  and  the 
prospect  for  a  first  subway,  for  which  it  seemed  impos- 
sible to  borrow  money.  There  was  a  great  stir  in  mu- 
nicipal consciousness  all  over  the  country.  L.  S.  Ellert 
had  just  been  elected  mayor  of  San  Francisco  on  an  inde- 
pendent ticket  and  a  promise  to  give  clean  business  as 
opposed  to  the  sand-lot  variety  of  politics.  Mayor  Pin- 
gree,  of  Detroit,  had  won  on  a  campaign  for  city  lighting. 
Mayor  William  Henry  Eustace  of  Minneapolis  was  clos- 
ing a  business  administration,  and  although  contracts 
with  the  lighting  companies  had  five  years  to  run,  Min- 
neapolis was  resolving  at  the  termination  of  that  time  to 
have  her  own  electric  plants.  Chicago  was  hoping  to 
elect  Mayor  Harrison  in  order  to  have  his  direction  dur- 
ing the  period  of  the  World's  Fair.  And  Nathan  Mat- 
thews, mayor  of  Boston,  had  been  elected  on  a  ticket 
for  municipal  lighting  and  an  extension  of  the  transit. 

For  the  season  of  '9 1-^92  my  wife  and  I  had  resumed 
possession  of  our  apartment  on  the  upper  floor  of  the 
Oriental  Hotel  on  the  Thirty-ninth  Street  side,  overlook- 
ing the  roof  of  the  Casino.  In  the  summer  and  early 
autumn  evenings  we  could  sit  at  the  window  or  on  the 
little  fire-escape  balcony  thereby  and  see  the  operatic 
performance  on  the  Casino  roof  as  comfortably  as  if  from 
a  private  box,  though  a  bit  remote.  Part  of  our  royal- 



ties  that  were  coming  in  I  devoted  under  competent  ad- 
vice to  the  collection  of  a  small  library,  good  for  work- 
ing purposes,  and  occasionally  getting  here  and  there  a 
little  picture  that  was  worth  having.  Somebody  has 
said  that  when  you  have  once  thoroughly  seen  a  picture 
you  may  safely  take  leave  of  it;  it  will  never  again  have 
for  you  its  first  effect. 

For  some  reason  that  is  not  the  truth  for  me.  A  pic- 
ture that  I  have  really  chosen  and  that  I  like  grows  more 
and  more  to  be  a  part  of  my  environment,  and  I  feel 
with  Doctor  Henry  van  Dyke,  who  wrote  that  his  pic- 
tures were  for  him  windows  through  which  he  looked 
out  from  his  study  on  to  the  world. 

In  that  apartment,  thus  agreeably  situated  and  sur- 
rounded, I  began  to  think  about  the  story  for  Goodwin. 
He  had  been  so  successful  in  a  sentimental  bit  in  "A 
Gold  Mine,"  written  for  him  by  Brander  Matthews  and 
George  Jessop,  that  though  he  was  willing  to  have  his 
new  play  largely  comedy,  he  hoped  that  it  would  have  a 
serious  backbone.  At  that  time  Goodwin  was  slight, 
graceful,  and  with  a  face  capable  of  conveying  the  sub- 
tlest shades  of  feeling;  his  voice  was  rich  and  modulated. 
My  problem  was  to  find  a  story  for  a  blond  hero  five 
feet  seven  inches  tall,  weighing  under  one  hundred  and 
fifty  pounds,  with  a  Roman  nose  and  a  steady,  steel- 
blue  gaze.  I  stood  the  Goodwin  photograph  on  my  table 
and  looked  at  it  until  it  talked  to  me.  The  slight  phy- 
sique couldn't  explain  the  solid  confidence  of  that  look 
except  there  was  behind  it  a  gun.  I  clarified  my  problem 
a  little  by  deciding  that  the  gun  should  be  carried  law- 
fully, and  as  there  was  nothing  suggesting  the  soldier  in 
Goodwin,  nothing  of  the  setting-up  type  about  him,  I 
was  urged  to  the  idea  of  sheriff. 

THE  EARLY  90'S  311 

Persons  interested  in  play-writing — and  I  am  per- 
suaded they  are  not  few  in  number — will  see  how  that 
clears  the  atmosphere.  When  you  must  or  may  write 
for  a  star  it  is  a  big  start  to  have  the  character  agreeably 
and  definitely  chosen.  To  secure  the  love  interest,  I 
thought  of  a  girl  who  would  be  of  a  little  finer  strain  than 
the  sheriff  type  indicated,  and  the  necessity  for  conflict 
suggested  a  rival.  The  rival  should  be  attractive  but 
unworthy,  and  to  make  him  doubly  opposed  to  Good- 
win, I  decided  to  have  him  an  outlaw,  some  one  it  would 
be  the  sheriff's  duty  and  business — business  used  in  the 
stage  sense — to  arrest. 

I  have  told  in  earlier  chapters  of  my  experience  with 
Jim  Cummings,  the  express  robber,  who  had  given  a 
messenger  on  the  Missouri-Pacific  road  a  forged  order  to 
carry  him  in  his  car,  and  then  after  some  friendly  inter- 
course had  tied  the  messenger  and  got  off  the  train  with 
a  suitcase  full  of  greenbacks.  The  need  for  a  drama 
criminal  decided  me  to  make  use  of  Cummings  as  Good- 
win's rival,  a  glorified  and  beautiful  matinee  Cummings, 
but  substantially  him.  This  adoption  rescued  the  sheriff 
and  the  girl  from  the  hazy  geography  of  the  mining- 
camps  in  which  my  mind  had  been  groping  and  fixed 
the  trio  in  Mizzoura. 

Newspaper  experience  in  those  days  before  the  flimsy 
and  the  rewrite  emphasized  the  value  of  going  to  the  place 
in  order  to  report  an  occurrence,  and  I  knew  that,  aside 
from  these  three  characters  and  their  official  and  senti- 
mental relationship,  the  rest  of  my  people  and  my  play 
were  waiting  for  me  in  Bowling  Green,  Mizzoura.  I 
told  Goodwin  of  the  character  and  the  locality,  got  his 
approval  of  the  idea  that  far,  and  took  a  train  for  Pike 


In  those  days  Mrs.  Thomas  and  I  used  to  hold  hands 
on  our  evening  promenades;  but  I  think  it  was  really 
our  foolish  New  York  clothes  that  made  the  blacksmith 
smile.  At  any  rate,  we  stopped  at  his  door  and  talked 
with  him.  He  knew  Champ  Clark  and  Dave  Ball,  an- 
other Missouri  statesman,  and  had  the  keenest  interest 
in  the  coming  convention  for  the  legislative  nomination. 
It  was  fine  to  hear  him  pronounce  the  State  name  Miz- 
zoura,  as  it  was  originally  spelled  on  many  territorial 
charts,  and  as  we  were  permitted  to  call  it  in  the  public 
schools  until  we  reached  the  grades  where  imported  cul- 
ture ruled.  The  blacksmith's  helper,  who  was  finishing 
a  wagon  shaft  with  a  draw-knife,  was  younger  and  less 
intelligent,  and  preferred  to  talk  to  Mrs.  Thomas.  A 
driver  brought  in  a  two-horse,  side-seated  depot  wagon 
on  three  wheels  and  a  fence  rail.  The  fourth  wheel  and 
its  broken  tire  were  in  the  wagon,  and  the  blacksmith 
said  he'd  weld  the  tire  at  5:30  the  next  morning. 

We  went  without  breakfast  to  see  him  do  it.  He  was 
my  heroine's  father  by  that  time — a  candidate  for  the 
legislature — and  I  was  devising  for  him  a  second  comedy 
daughter  to  play  opposite  to  the  boy  with  a  draw-knife. 
That  day  I  also  found  the  drug-store  window  and  the 
"lickerish"  boxes  that  Cummings  should  break  through 
in  his  attempted  escape;  and  I  recovered  the  niggers, 
the  "dog  fannell,"  the  linen  dusters,  and  the  paper  col- 
lars which  in  my  recent  prosperity  I'd  forgotten.  I  also 
nominated  Goodwin  for  the  legislature,  which  increased 
his  importance  and  gave  him  something  to  sacrifice  for 
the  girl's  father. 

I  was  very  happy  over  what  I  felt  was  the  backbone 
of  a  play  as  I  started  from  Bowling  Green  to  St.  Louis 
on  the  return  trip.  In  the  day  coach  my  wife  and  I  were 

THE  EARLY  90'S  313 

the  only  passengers  except  a  man  who  sat  well  forward 
by  the  heater  and  seemed  in  trouble.  When  the  con- 
ductor, whom  I  knew,  came  along  I  asked  him  about 
the  man.  He  said:  "That's  Nat  Dryden.  You  must 
know  him." 

I  did.  I  went  forward  to  Dryden's  seat.  He  was  weep- 
ing and  muttering  to  himself,  though  slightly  consoled 
by  liquor. 

When  I  spoke  to  him  he  turned  to  me  for  sympathy 
and  said:  "Oh,  Gus,  Gus,  Nancy  died  last  night." 

Nancy  was  his  wife,  and  was  known  as  one  of  the  hand- 
somest women  in  Missouri. 

"Yes,  last  night !    And,  oh,  Gus,  how  she  loved  you  !" 

"Why,  I  don't  think  I  ever  met  your  wife." 

"I  know  it.  But  you  remember  that  convention  at 
Jefferson  City  when  I  was  a  candidate  for  attorney-gen- 
eral  " 

I  nodded. 

"The  fourth  ballot  was  a  tie  between  me  and  that 
blankety-blank-blank  from  Galloway  County.  You  were 
at  the  reporters'  table.  At  a  pause  in  the  proceedings 
you  rose  from  your  impotent  and  inopportune  seat,  and 
addressing  that  convention  in  which  you  had  no  rights 
whatever  you  said  in  a  loud  voice:  'I  want  it  distinctly 
understood  that  the  press  of  this  State  is  for  Nat  Dry- 
den/  " 

I  nodded. 

"Dear  boy,  it  beat  me.  But  I  went  home  and  told  it 
to  Nancy,  and  we've  loved  you  ever  since." 

My  wife  and  I  stopped  only  a  day  in  St.  Louis,  and 
then  we  started  back  for  New  York.  There  are  few  better 
places  than  a  railroad  train  for  building  stories.  The 
rhythmic  click  of  the  wheels  past  the  fishplates  makes 


your  thoughts  march  as  a  drum  urges  a  column  of  sol- 
diers. By  the  time  our  train  pulled  into  New  York  I 
was  impatient  to  make  a  running  transcript  of  speeches 
of  my  contending  people.  But  that  is  a  relief  that  must 
be  deferred.  Like  overanxious  litigants,  the  characters 
are  disposed  to  talk  too  much  and  must  be  controlled 
and  kept  in  bounds  by  a  proportioned  scenario,  assign- 
ing order  and  respective  and  progressive  values  to  them. 

Before  beginning  to  write  I  submitted  the  story  to 
Goodwin.  He  was  playing  at  the  Fifth  Avenue  Theatre 
at  the  time,  I  think,  in  Henry  Guy  Carleton's  "Ambi- 
tion," but  I  am  positive  about  his  rooms  at  the  Worth 
House  annex  of  the  Hoffman  House  just  across  Twenty- 
fifth  Street.  I  called  by  appointment  at  twelve  o'clock. 
Nat  had  been  a  little  wild  the  night  before,  and  was  now 
propped  repentantly  against  his  pillows.  As  I  entered 
the  room  a  German  waiter  was  standing  at  the  foot  of 
the  bed  with  an  order  blank  in  his  hand.  Nat  was  study- 
ing the  menu  with  a  most  regretful  discrimination. 
Faintly  assuming  my  permission,  he  gave  his  order,  the 
obsequious  German  responding  and  writing  down. 

"Bring  me  a  wine-glass  of  orange  juice." 

"Vine-glass,  oranch  juice." 

"Dry  toast." 

"Jez-sir,  try  doast." 

"  Piece  of  salt  mackerel." 

The  waiter  answered  and  wrote.    Long  pause  by  Nat. 

"Cup  of  coffee." 

"Coffee,  jez-sir." 


Following  Nat's  appealing  look,  I  explained  to  the 
puzzled  waiter  the  significance  of  the  last  instruction. 

Goodwin  was  so  enthusiastic  about  the  story  that  it 

THE  EARLY  90'S  315 

was  an  added  stimulation  to  the  writing  of  it.  I  got  a 
little  inside  room  near  our  apartment  in  the  Oriental 
and  began  work  on  the  play,  which  as  far  as  dialogue 
went  almost  wrote  itself.  One  night  in  particular,  after 
talking  in  minute  detail  the  third  act  to  Goodwin,  really 
playing  it  with  him,  I  went  to  my  table  after  an  early 
and  light  dinner,  but  with  some  coffee  that  I  had  the 
bell-boy  bring  at  irregular  times,  and  other  reinforce- 
ments not  so  deadly,  and  wrote  the  entire  third  act  of 
the  play  before  the  daylight  came  through  the  windows. 
I  was  a  good  deal  of  a  wreck  when  it  was  finished,  and 
the  handwriting  was  difficult  to  read;  but  when  finally 
transcribed  it  was  never  altered,  and  the  play  could  be 
prompted  from  that  script  to-day. 

Early  in  the  World's  Fair  time  there  came  a  chance 
to  do  the  play  at  Hooley's.  Goodwin  had  a  fine  com- 
pany, somewhat  miscast  in  some  particulars,  but  all  of 
ability,  with  handsome  Frank  Carlyle  as  the  villain  and 
a  tower  of  strength  in  Mclntosh,  whom  I  persuaded 
Goodwin  to  take  when  he  had  been  rather  set  on  getting 
McKee  Rankin,  a  much  more  expensive  and  older  actor. 
We  had  exactly  eleven  days  in  which  to  produce  the 
piece.  It  was  one  of  Goodwin's  greatest  first  nights.  I 
had  frequently  been  behind  the  curtain  with  Nat  in  other 
plays,  but  never  saw  him  begin  one.  That  night  in  Chi- 
cago he  had  a  perfect  case  of  seasickness,  and  with  diffi- 
culty controlled  his  nausea  during  the  acts.  He  told 
me  then  that  his  nervousness  always  affected  him  that 
way  with  a  new  play. 

I  shall  never  forget  his  pale  face  nor  his  descriptive 
line  as  during  one  of  the  intermissions  he  looked  up  at 
me  and  said:  "My  boy,  a  first  night  is  a  hoss  race  that 
lasts  three  hours." 


After  the  Goodwin  contract  I  had  engaged  to  do  plays 
for  William  Crane  and  for  Charles  Frohman.  The  most 
imperative  of  these  was  for  Crane,  then  playing  in  "The 
Senator,"  and  looking  about  for  a  play  to  follow  it. 
Crane  some  years  before  had  had  a  play  by  Clay  M. 
Greene  called  "  Sharps  and  Flats,"  in  which  he  and  Rob- 
son  had  jointly  starred,  and  Greene  had  rewritten  for 
Robson  and  Crane  some  other  script.  Joseph  Brooks, 
Crane's  manager,  wished  Greene  and  me  to  write  to- 
gether. It  was  arranged  that  Greene  and  I  meet  Crane 
at  his  summer  home,  Cohasset.  Greene  was  to  be  in  that 
neighborhood  with  a  yachting  party.  My  wife  and  I 
planned  to  stop  on  our  way  to  Ocean  Point,  Boothbay 
Harbor,  Maine,  where  Mr.  Eugene  Presbrey  and  his 
wife,  Annie  Russell,  had  a  bungalow,  to  which  they  had 
invited  us  for  part  of  the  summer. 

At  Mr.  Crane's  home  I  found  a  request  from  Greene 
for  Crane  and  me  to  come  to  Boston,  where  a  yacht  on 
which  Greene  was  a  guest  was  anchored.  This  was  agree- 
able, as  Crane  had  his  own  steam  yacht,  the  Senator, 
and  was  in  the  habit  of  running  up  to  Boston  once  or 
twice  a  week  on  excuses  not  nearly  so  good.  Greene's 
host  was  Harry  M.  Gillig,  owner  of  the  schooner  yacht 
Ramona.  The  Senator  anchored  near  by  and  our  party 
went  aboard  the  Ramona,  where,  with  Harry  Gillig  play- 
ing a  taropatch  and  Frank  Unger  strumming  a  banjo, 
the  distinguished  comedian  showed  the  boys  that  he 
could  still  shake  a  foot.  Crane  began  professional  life 
as  a  basso  in  a  comic  opera  company,  and  went  from 
that  into  Rice's  burlesque,  "  Evangeline,"  in  which  as  Le 
Blanc  he  had  not  only  to  sing  and  act,  but  to  dance.  Be- 
sides the  jollity  of  it  there  was  an  amusing  incongruity 
in  the  sight  of  the  sedate  Senator  in  yachtsman's  fa- 

THE  EARLY  90'S  317 

tigue  doing  a  rattling  jig  on  the  deck  of  the  schooner. 
After  a  jovial  afternoon  Crane  went  home  alone  to  Co- 
hasset,  and  my  wife  and  I  joined  the  cabin  party  of  the 
schooner  yacht  under  Gillig's  promise  to  sail  us  up  to 
Presbrey 's,  an  easy  cruise  of  two  or  three  days. 

Harry  Gillig,  Californian,  had  recently  married  a 
daughter  of  a  California  multi-millionaire.  This  young 
couple  were  on  their  honeymoon.  The  Gilligs  had  with 
them  a  Western  party,  including,  besides  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Greene,  Frank  Unger,  father  of  Gladys  Unger,  the  young 
playwright  of  to-day;  Theodore  Worres,  painter;  Charles 
Warren  Stoddard,  poet,  author  of  "South  Sea  Idyls"; 
Harry  Woodruff,  actor;  and  Charles  Thomas,  partner  of 
Charles  Hoyt,  of  the  younger  group  of  managers.  Gillig 
and  Unger,  as  members  of  the  Bohemian  Club,  San  Fran- 
cisco, were  also  members  of  The  Lambs,  where  I  had  met 
them  and  begun  an  intimate  friendship  that  lasted  as  long 
as  both  men  lived. 

By  the  time  the  Ramona  reached  Boothbay  Harbor, 
Gillig  and  his  cabin  party  were  opposed  to  my  wife  and 
me  leaving  for  the  visit  to  Presbrey.  The  amiable  con- 
test was  adjusted  by  our  spending  a  few  days  ashore 
while  the  boat  cruised  near  by,  and  our  then  rejoining 
for  a  run  to  Bar  Harbor  and  back,  when  our  host  took 
Presbrey  aboard,  too,  for  a  sail  back  to  New  York.  Any 
cruise  so  composed  and  dowered  can  fill  pages  with  its 
record.  I  shall  not  write  a  line,  but  will  leave  all  to  sym- 
pathetic understanding  under  the  embracing  words  of 
youth  and  fellowship,  sail  and  song  and  sea  and  summer. 

It  would  be  with  the  greatest  regret  that  I  would  elimi- 
nate from  my  experiences  that  summer  and  parts  of  two 
subsequent  ones  on  the  Ramona,  and  yet  I  think  that 
nearly  all  the  embarrassment  that  comes  from  having 


one's  expenditures  exceed  his  income  I  could  trace  to 
standards  accepted  at  that  time. 

Eugene  Field  was  wise  when  he  refused  the  winter 
strawberries,  as  Mr.  Melville  Stone  relates,  because  he 
feared  they  would  spoil  his  taste  for  prunes;  and  then 
we  people  of  the  theatre  are  so  easily  misled  by  appear- 
ance, and  also  by  a  creative  wish  to  realize  a  fancy.  Only 
three  or  four  years  ago  I  met  Henry  Miller  in  San  Fran- 
cisco, where,  like  myself,  he  had  come  to  put  on  some 
plays  in  that  summer. 

"Hello,  Henry!  Why  aren't  you  on  a  vacation  after 
your  busy  season  at  your  New  York  theatre?" 

"Because  I  was  not  content  with  a  place  in  the  coun- 
try good  enough  for  any  man  to  live  in,  but  being  a  damn 
fool  theatrical  person  had  to  build  stone  walls  around 
it,  and  terraces,  and  make  a  production.  Now  I'm  still 
working  to  pay  for  it." 

On  the  Ramona,  Greene  and  I  hammered  out  a  story 
we  thought  would  do  for  Crane's  play.  It  wasn't  easy, 
because  Crane,  like  all  the  comedians  at  that  time, 
wanted  a  comedy-drama,  something  that  would  give 
him  a  chance  for  the  untried  substantial  powers  he  was 
sure  he  possessed.  With  this  story  in  hand  we  had  a 
season  ahead  of  us  in  which  to  write  the  dialogue. 

Although  again  getting  a  little  out  of  the  order  of 
events,  for  the  sake  of  cohesion  I  will  jump  ahead  to  the 
production  of  the  Crane  play  which  we  called  "For 
Money."  It  was  a  four-act  construction,  and  with  a 
dominant  serious  note.  Crane  played  a  man  who  had 
been  embittered  by  finding  in  his  dead  wife's  locket, 
which  he  had  thought  contained  his  own  portrait,  the 
picture  of  another  man.  This  unhappy  discovery  had 
been  made  many  years  before  the  opening  of  our  story, 

THE  EARLY  90'S  319 

and  the  ingenue  of  the  play,  who  had  come  under  his 
protection,  speaking  in  pride  of  her  antecedents,  showed 
to  Crane  a  portrait  of  her  father.  The  unhappy  star 
was  to  regard  it  and  say  in  a  quiet  undertone  to  himself, 
"The  man  whose  picture  I  found  on  my  dead  wife's 

Charles  Thome  or  John  Mason  or  Lucien  Guitry  might 
have  got  away  with  that  line,  but  when  Crane  spoke  it, 
registering  a  startled  surprise,  and  spreading  his  hands 
in  a  manner  that  had  been  irresistible  in  the  old-time 
comedy  of  "Forbidden  Fruit,"  the  house  rocked  with 

Greene  said:  "Some  of  'em  wanted  to  cheer  for  the 
man  in  the  picture." 

The  performance  was  in  Cleveland,  where  Greene  and 
I  had  a  few  friends.  Sympathetic  people  tried  to  restore 
the  equilibrium  of  the  play  by  appreciating  its  other 
serious  values,  but  as  Greene  said  at  our  little  post-mor- 
tem when  the  evening  was  over:  "Yes,  people  came  to 
me  in  the  lobby  and  said  they  liked  it,  but  they  didn't 
slap  me  on  the  back." 

By  the  end  of  the  week  Brooks  and  I  took  blame  for 
our  fall-down  in  equal  shares.  The  play  wasn't  as  good 
as  it  might  have  been,  and  Crane  didn't  handle  serious 
stuff  as  well  as  he  hoped  he  would. 

I  once  made  a  caricature  in  my  guest  book  of  Francis 
Wilson,  under  which  Frank  wrote,  "Du  sublime  au  ridi- 
cule il  n'y  a  quun  pas,  which  some  years  later  I  was  able 
to  translate.  But  the  fact  of  the  easy  step  from  the  sub- 
lime to  the  ridculous  I  knew  by  experience.  Two  weeks 
ahead  Crane's  time  for  his  New  York  season  at  the  Star 
Theatre  was  waiting  for  him. 

I  said:    "Joe,  I  think  I  can  save  the  printing,  the 


scenery,  and  most  of  the  company  and  make  a  farce  of 
this  thing  in  time  for  New  York." 

Brooks  said:   "For  God's  sake,  do  it!" 

My  wife  and  I  went  back  to  the  Oriental  Hotel.  With 
close  application  to  the  work,  with  the  brave  use  of  scis- 
sors and  paste-pot,  I  rejoined  the  company  in  four  days 
with  a  new  script  and  parts  for  a  broad  farce.  We  re- 
hearsed it  in  Baltimore,  tried  it  in  Washington,  came 
to  our  dress  rehearsal  at  the  Star  in  New  York  with  a 
good  company  and  everybody  in  high  spirits.  There 
occurred  at  that  dress  rehearsal  a  commonplace  inquiry 
of  mine  which  I  have  seen  quoted  in  newspapers  as  an 
example  of  my  brilliant  repartee,  when  it  was  only  the 
most  honest-to-God  inquiry  a  man  could  make.  In  the 
middle  of  our  second  act  at  the  Sunday-night  rehearsal 
Brooks  loudly  clapped  his  hands  after  the  fashion  of  the 
interrupting  manager,  came  down  the  aisle  of  the  theatre, 
calling  my  name.  I  came  into  the  prompt  entrance,  from 
where  I  had  been  readjusting  a  light. 

Brooks  said:  "Gus,  there  are  a  whole  lot  of  funny 
things  that  could  be  said  right  there." 

Having  written  myself  out  on  the  rush  work  with  the 
script  and  worked  myself  out  at  rehearsals,  and  willing 
to  take  help  from  any  quarter,  I  simply  answered:  "What 
are  they,  Joe?" 

When  I  heard  the  peal  from  the  company  that  had 
been  interrupted  and  from  the  few  people  in  the  other- 
wise empty  parquet,  I  let  the  answer  go  as  an  example 
of  agility. 

"For  Money"  played  a  fine  eight  weeks  in  New  York, 
but,  as  I  remember,  Crane  never  did  it  on  the  road. 

My  first  play  for  Charles  Frohman  was  called  "Sur- 
render." I  believed  that  we  were  far  enough  from  the 

THE  EARLY  90'S  321 

Civil  War  to  take  a  comedy  view  of  some  of  its  episodes, 
and  that  after  the  many  serious  plays  that  had  handled 
it  the  public  would  be  glad  to  have  the  subject  treated 
humorously.  C.  F.  thought  so  too.  He  liked  the  script 
as  I  gave  it  to  him,  and  it  was  turned  over  to  Eugene 
Presbrey  to  rehearse  in  Boston.  Presbrey  was  so  ap- 
preciative of  its  values  that  he  thought  it  a  mistake  to 
make  a  farce  of  it,  and  after  a  conference  with  C.  F., 
who  went  over  to  look  at  the  rehearsals,  they  decided 
to  play  it  seriously,  stressing  melodramatically  every  pos- 
sible point  and  introducing  a  horse.  When  I  arrived  at 
about  the  dress  rehearsal  the  enthusiasm  of  those  two 
men  overbore  my  first  conception  of  the  story,  and  we 
went  to  the  public  with  it  as  a  serious  play.  It  lasted 
on  the  road  only  some  sixteen  weeks. 

Maude  Banks,  the  daughter  of  General  Banks,  was 
playing  in  the  piece  the  part  of  the  only  Northern  girl. 
A  requirement  of  the  script  and  of  the  part  was  a  blue 
silk  sash  on  her  white  dress,  as  I  remembered  the  young 
women  of  war  days  declaring  their  loyalty.  At  the  dress 
rehearsal  Miss  Banks  declined  to  destroy  the  effect  of 
her  white  dress  by  putting  any  color  on  it,  preferring  to 
leave  the  company  rather  than  be  disloyal  to  her  dress- 
maker. C.  F.  said  it  was  too  late  to  do  anything  about 
it,  and  the  young  lady's  whim  prevailed.  I  don't  think 
she  ever  played  under  Mr.  Frohman's  management  again. 

Louis  Aldrich,  a  stalwart  actor  who  as  a  star  had  won 
great  reputation  in  Bartley  Campbell's  "My  Partner" 
and  other  dramas,  played  a  Southern  general  with  a  line 
that  I  had  taken  verbatim  from  an  assertion  by  Colonel 
Alfriend  that  the  South  had  whipped  the  North  on  a 
thousand  fields  and  had  never  lost  except  when  over- 
come by  superior  numbers.  Aldrich  declined  to  deliver 


this  speech,  because  personally  he  was  a  Northern  man, 
so  that  altogether  we  had  considerable  trouble  with  our 
temperamental  actors.  There  came  a  time  in  C.  F/s 
experience  and  development,  however,  when  he  was 
somewhat  more  insistent  on  the  effects  that  he  wanted, 
and  when  actors  were  not  so  ready  to  oppose  him. 

In  the  spring  of  1892  we  built  at  New  Rochelle  the 
house  which  is  still  our  home.  The  versatile,  volatile 
Sydney  Rosenfeld  at  that  time  was  among  the  first  if 
not  actually  the  principal  librettist  of  America,  and  a 
writer  of  comedies.  He  had  one  or  two  successes  on 
Broadway,  and  he  and  I  were  very  closely  associated  hi 
The  Lambs.  At  his  suggestion  we  went  to  New  Rochelle 
to  find  land  on  which  to  drive  our  stakes.  For  some 
reason  or  other  Sydney  postponed  his  building  and  finally 
abandoned  the  intention.  I  recall  our  first  day's  nego- 
tiation with  Sydney's  friend  from  whom  we  hoped  to 
buy  the  land.  Mr.  Leo  Bergholz,  ever  since  that  time 
in  the  United  States  consular  service,  was  showing  us  a 
little  pine  thicket  on  his  own  land,  densely  grown,  the 
ground  covered  with  fallen  needles.  He  had  a  pretty 
wit,  but  stood  somewhat  in  awe  of  the  great  Rosenfeld, 
who  wrote  smart  dialogue  for  the  Francis  Wilson  operas 
and  had  also  been  an  editor  of  Puck. 

Commenting  on  the  seclusion  of  this  copse,  Bergholz 
said:  "No  ray  of  sunshine  ever  penetrates  this  gloomy 

When  neither  of  us  smiled  at  this  mediaeval  utterance, 
Bergholz  repeated  it.  With  some  difficulty  we  continued 
serious.  As  Bergholz  approached  it  for  the  third  time 
he  lifted  his  hands  after  the  manner  of  a  coryphee,  and 
dancing  in  most  amateurish  fashion  a  feeble  jig,  he  said 
again:  "No  ray  of  sunshine  ever  penetrates  this  gloomy 

THE  EARLY  90'S  323 

Sydney,  looking  solemnly  at  Leo's  feet,  remarked: 
"That's  the  gloomiest  fastness  I  ever  saw." 

It  was  great  fun  to  plan  a  house.  In  the  old  days  on 
the  St.  Louis  Post-Dispatch  architecture  and  real  estate 
had  been  one  of  my  departments.  William  S.  Eames, 
one  of  the  youngest  and  most  talented  architects  of  St. 
Louis,  associated  with  Thomas  Young,  a  pupil  of  Richard- 
son of  Boston,  had  been  a  member  of  our  old  life  class 
at  Washington  University.  He  tried  to  tell  me  some- 
thing each  week  about  the  beauties  of  his  art,  and  I  came 
to  believe  that  an  essential  feature  of  domestic  archi- 
tecture was  a  roof  that  could  be  seen.  According  to 
Eames,  the  house  should  droop  its  wings  and  hover  its 
sheltered  brood  like  a  mother  hen.  A  memorandum 
sketch  that  I  turned  over  to  our  New  York  architect, 
and  which  my  wife  still  has  in  her  scrap-book,  was  drawn 
on  the  back  of  an  envelope  after  many  conferences  as 
to  our  joint  needs.  When  we  began  to  build  we  went 
to  New  Rochelle  to  board  in  order  to  be  near  the  enter- 
prise. There  was  no  hotel.  The  best  boarding-house 
in  the  place  was  kept  by  two  elderly  ladies,  one  of  them 
a  Mrs.  David,  whose  husband  had  been  the  principal 
merchant  of  that  little  city,  and  after  whose  family 
David's  Island,  now  occupied  by  Fort  Slocum,  had  been 
named.  We  were  satisfied  with  their  references,  and  they 
inquired  for  ours.  With  his  permission,  I  gave  them  the 
name  of  Bronson  Howard.  They  had  never  heard  of 
him,  and  asked  his  business.  I  told  them  and  named  his 
prominent  plays,  "The  Banker's  Daughter,"  "The  Hen- 
rietta," and  "Shenandoah."  They  had  never  heard  of 
any  one  of  these. 

I  said:  "He  is  your  neighbor  and  owns  the  house  just 
around  the  corner,"  giving  them  street  and  number. 
They  had  never  heard  of  that. 


This  story  of  Howard's  obscurity  was  a  favorite  one 
of  mine  for  many  years  to  illustrate  the  indifference  of 
the  general  public  to  the  men  who  write  plays,  until  it 
was  superseded  by  an  experience  of  my  own.  In  1909 
Mr.  Shubert  asked  me  to  go  to  Chicago  to  overlook  the 
performance  that  the  John  Mason  company  were  giving 
in  my  play,  "The  Witching  Hour,"  at  the  Garrick  Thea- 
tre. I  purposely  stood  in  the  lobby  until  the  curtain  had 
gone  up,  and  then  in  my  most  humorous  manner  asked 
the  man  in  the  box-office  if  he  passed  the  profession.  The 
lobby  was  filled  with  posters  bearing  Shubert's  and 
Mason's  names,  and  my  own,  in  that  order  of  impor- 
tance and  display.  The  treasurer  asked  my  name,  the 
branch  of  the  profession  in  which  I  was.  I  told  him. 
He  asked  me  the  names  of  some  plays  I  had  written.  I 
named  four  or  five,  omitting  "The  Witching  Hour." 
He  said  he  would  have  to  ask  the  manager.  The  man- 
ager came  to  the  box-office  window,  put  me  through  the 
same  questionnaire,  and  shook  his  head;  and  it  was  only 
when  I  told  him  how  he  would  disappoint  Mr.  Shubert, 
and  pointed  to  the  three-sheet  bearing  the  name  I  had 
given  him,  that  he  in  any  way  associated  the  sound  with 
the  type. 

At  New  Rochelle  I  became  intimately  acquainted  with 
Frederic  Remington  and  E.  W.  Kemble.  These  two 
illustrators  had  been  friends  for  some  time  elsewhere, 
and  were  great  companions;  but  the  most  beautiful  side 
of  their  friendship  needed  a  third  for  its  precipitation. 
Kemble  is  universally  amusing  when  he  cares  to  be.  Few 
men  are  his  equal  in  putting  the  spirit  of  caricature  into 
ordinary  verbal  report  or  comment;  even  his  famous 
"Kemble  Koons"  do  not  show  such  sure  fun.  Reming- 
ton responded  promptly  to  Kemble's  comedy,  however 

THE  EARLY  90'S  325 

expressed.  Most  men  who  know  it  do  the  same,  but 
Remington  went  further.  When  Kemble  had  left  him 
after  any  interview,  all  of  Kemble's  woes  of  which  Rem- 
ington had  been  the  repository  were  suddenly  dwarfed 
in  the  larger  horizon  of  Remington's  experiences  and 
transmuted  into  side-splitting  jokes.  In  his  mind,  Kem- 
ble was  never  grown  up;  and  Kemble  reciprocated. 

Remington's  throes,  viewed  through  Kemble's  prism, 
were  just  as  amusing.  They  took  even  each  other's  art 
as  playfellows  take  each  other's  games.  There  were 
years  when  much  of  their  leisure  was  passed  in  company. 
Their  understanding  was  mutual  and  immediate.  One 
night  after  the  theatre,  on  the  train  home  from  New 
York,  sitting  together,  Remington  was  by  the  car  win- 
dow, Kemble  next  to  the  aisle.  An  obstreperous  com- 
muter was  disturbing  the  passengers,  men  and  women. 
The  busy  conductor's  admonition  had  been  ineffective, 
the  brakeman's  repeated  expostulations  useless.  The 
men  passengers  seemed  cowed;  the  rowdy  was  gaining 
confidence.  On  his  third  blatant  parade  through  the 
car,  and  as  he  passed  Kemble's  side,  Remington's  two 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds  of  bone  and  muscle  reached 
out  into  the  aisle,  and  with  the  precision  of  a  snapping 
turtle  lifted  him  from  his  feet  like  a  naughty  boy  and 
laid  him  face  downward  over  Kemble's  interposing  lap. 
With  the  spirit  of  perfect  team-work,  as  Remington  held 
the  ruffian,  Kemble  spanked  him,  while  the  legs  in  the 
aisle  wriggled  frantically  for  a  foothold.  The  correction, 
prolonged  and  ample,  was  accompanied  by  roars  of  laugh- 
ter from  fifty  other  passengers.  Being  done,  Remington 
stood  the  offender  on  his  feet.  The  man  began  a  threat- 
ening; tirade.  Before  half  a  sentence  was  uttered  Rem- 
ington had  him  again  exposed  to  Kemble's  rhythmic 


tattoo.  This  was  enough,  and  when  again  released  the 
fellow  promptly  left  the  car  for  the  seclusion  of  the 

In  those  early  90*3  my  sculptor  friend  RuckstuII's 
relation  to  life  was  not  unlike  my  own.  He  was  working 
in  a  department  of  art  where  there  was  no  regularity  of 
income,  and  where  his  opportunities  were  the  result  of 
competition.  Next  to  getting  an  order  for  a  play  and 
finding  a  story  satisfactory  to  a  star  or  manager  was 
seeing  RuckstuII  win  a  commission  in  a  competition 
where  his  sketch  had  been  approved.  When  he  got  the 
order  for  the  Hartranft  equestrian  statue  to  go  up  in 
front  of  the  Capitol  at  Harrisburg  it  made  quite  a  little 
stir  in  our  colony.  Besides  myself,  both  Remington  and 
Kemble  were  artistically  interested. 

After  one  has  submitted  a  sculptured  model  sketch 
which  is  perhaps  eighteen  or  twenty  inches  high,  the 
procedure  toward  the  heroic  group  that  is  finally  to  be 
in  bronze  is  through  what  is  called  a  fourth-sized  model — 
say,  for  horse  and  man  perhaps  four  feet  high.  Ruck- 
stuII decided  to  make  his  final  clay  model  of  the  finished 
group  in  France.  Studio  rent,  plaster-casting,  and  the 
final  bronze,  together  with  one's  own  living  for  the  year 
that  the  work  would  require,  would  all  be  so  much 
cheaper  that  such  a  foreign  residence,  with  somewhat 
of  a  holiday  color  to  it,  would  about  pay  for  itself.  His 
fourth-sized  model,  however,  he  would  make  in  this  coun- 
try, and  for  the  fun  that  it  would  be  for  all  of  us  I  per- 
suaded him  to  put  up  a  half  shade  on  some  open  ground 
back  of  our  house  at  New  Rochelle  and  do  the  work 

Remington,  a  very  methodic  worker  himself,  despite 
his  ability  to  play  in  off  hours,  got  up  early,  put  in  an 


i.  L.  J.  B.  Lincoln.     2.  F.  W.  Ruckstull.     3.  Augustus  Thomas.     4.  E.  W.  Kemble. 

5.  Francis  Wilson.     6.  Frederic  Remington. 
Nos.  3  and  4  are  by  Frederic  Remington.     Nos.  i,  2,  5,  and  6  are  by  Augustus  Thomas. 

THE  EARLY  90'S  327 

entire  forenoon,  and  with  the  interruption  of  a  light  lunch 
worked  until  nearly  three  o'clock.  Then  every  day  dur- 
ing this  stay  of  RuckstuIPs  Remington  came  over  to  look 
at  the  progress  of  the  model.  He  once  said  that  when 
he  died  he  wanted  to  have  written  on  his  tomb:  "He 
knew  the  horse."  And  that  could  be  said  of  Remington 
about  as  truthfully  as  of  any  other  artist  that  has  ever 
lived  in  America.  RuckstuII  also  knew  the  horse,  but 
from  another  angle.  It  was  interesting  to  hear  the  dis- 
putes of  these  two  experts  as  RuckstuII's  horse  pro- 
gressed in  its  modelling,  Remington  always  arguing  for 
the  wire-drawn  Western  specimen  and  RuckstuII  stand- 
ing for  the  more  monumental,  picturesque  horse  of  the 
Eastern  breeders. 

During  that  time  I  went  to  Remington's  studio  one 
day,  where  he  was  drawing  a  Westerner  shooting  up  a 
barroom.  That  hulking  figure  in  the  foreground,  how- 
ever, obstructed  other  detail  that  he  wished  to  show. 
Remington  immediately  dusted  off  the  charcoal  outline, 
and  instead  drew  his  gunman  in  the  background  shooting 
down  the  room. 

I  said:  "Fred,  you're  not  a  draftsman;  you're  a  sculp- 
tor. You  saw  all  round  that  fellow,  and  could  have  put 
him  anywhere  you  wanted  him.  They  call  that  the  sculp- 
tor's degree  of  vision." 

Remington  laughed,  but  later  RuckstuII  sent  him 
some  tools  and  a  supply  of  modeler's  wax,  and  he  began 
his  "  Bronco  Buster."  It  was  characteristic  of  the  man 
that  his  first  attempt  should  be  a  subject  difficult  enough 
as  a  technical  problem  to  have  daunted  a  sculptor  of 
experience  and  a  master  of  technic.  His  love  of  the  work 
when  he  got  at  it,  his  marvellous  aptitude  for  an  art  in 
which  he  had  never  had  a  single  lesson,  are  some  evidence 


that  it  was  possibly  his  metier.  His  few  bronze  groups 
and  figures  that  rapidly  followed  the  "  Bronco  Buster  " 
and  his  heroic  equestrian  monument  of  "  The  Pioneer  " 
in  Fairmount  Park,  Philadelphia,  are  the  work  of  one 
who  surely  would  have  excelled  in  sculpture  if  he  had 
lived  to  follow  it. 

Back  in  those  days  there  was  a  wish  to  improve  the 
theatre,  not  unlike  the  general  desire  so  prevalent  now, 
and  which  has  never  been  entirely  absent;  a  feeling  that 
the  box-office  should  not  so  largely  dominate  in  the  selec- 
tion of  a  play,  and  that  its  verdict  should  not  be  the  final 
one  on  a  dramatic  offering.  Prominent  in  this  opinion 
was  Mr.  Henry  B.  McDowell,  a  young  man  of  enthusiasm 
and  high  purpose,  and,  what  was  equally  valuable  at 
that  time,  with  somewhat  of  a  fortune.  Mr.  McDowell 
decided  upon  a  winter's  series  of  plays  which  should  be 
produced  under  the  repertoire  idea  and  be  shown  in  both 
New  York  and  Boston.  To  launch  his  enterprise,  he 
began  in  the  spring  of  1892  with  a  dinner  of  fifty  men, 
about  thirty-five  of  whom  were  novelists,  magazine- 
writers,  and  poets,  the  remainder  being  already  engaged 
in  the  business  of  writing  plays.  I  remember  among  the 
literary  men  Mr.  William  Dean  Howells,  Charles  Dud- 
ley Warner,  George  W.  Cable,  Frederic  J.  Stimson,  of 
Boston;  Richard  Hovey,  the  poet;  Richard  Harding 
Davis,  Edmund  Clarence  Stedman,  Frank  R.  Stockton, 
and  others. 

I  sat  to  the  left  of  Mr.  Bronson  Howard,  who  during 
the  meal  said  to  me:  "These  literary  gentlemen  believe 
that  they  constitute  the  lost  tribe  of  American  drama- 
tists, and  that  the  theatre  will  be  elevated,  if  not  saved, 
as  soon  as  they  turn  their  attention  to  it." 

This  critical  attitude  startled  me  somewhat,  as  I  re- 

THE  EARLY  90'S  329 

membered  so  pleasantly  Mr.  Howells'  little  comedies, 
"The  Elevator,"  "The  Garroters,"  "Register,"  and  the 
like,  printed  in  1884  and  1885  in  Harper's.  Slightly  op- 
posing Mr.  Howard,  I  took  the  liberty  of  suggesting  that 
that  might  be  the  case. 

Very  definitely  this  veteran  then  asked  me:  "Thomas, 
what  is  a  dramatist?" 

I  answered:  "A  man  who  writes  plays." 

"Exactly!  What  plays  have  these  men  written?" 
Then  reinforcing  his  position  he  told  me  that  the  capacity 
to  write  plays  invariably  evinced  itself  in  a  disposition 
to  do  so  before  middle  life.  When  called  upon  to  speak, 
however,  Mr.  Howard  took  a  sympathetic  attitude  to- 
ward the  venture  and  talked  encouragingly.  One  other 
speech  that  I  remember  in  a  general  way  is  that  of  Mr. 
Henry  C.  De  Mille,  father  of  the  present  De  Mille  boys 
of  dramatic  and  motion-picture  fame.  One  line  par- 
ticularly had  a  considerable  influence  on  my  way  of  think- 
ing. De  Mille  reported  a  proposition  by  Harper  Brothers 
that  he  should  write  for  them  a  set  of  rules  for  play- 

He  said:  "I  at  first  accepted  the  commission,  but 
later  declined  for  the  reason  that  I  feared  that  if  I  once 
formulated  a  set  of  rules  for  writing  a  play  I  might  some 
time  be  tempted  to  follow  them." 

It  was  about  that  time  that  Frederic  Remington, 
speaking  of  his  own  art,  as  illustrator  and  painter,  said 
to  me:  "Tommy,  if  I  felt  cocksure  of  anything  about  my 
business  I  would  begin  to  be  afraid  of  myself." 

The  resolution  of  each  of  these  experts  to  keep  a  per- 
fectly open  mind  about  the  things  they  were  doing  went 
far  toward  retarding  my  own  ossification. 

Mr.  McDowell  established  his  Theatre  of  Arts  and 


Letters  and  gave  the  five  performances.  Plays  by  Mr. 
Stimson,  Richard  Harding  Davis,  Frank  Stockton,  Clyde 
Fitch,  Brander  Matthews,  and  some  other  author  were 
produced  under  the  stage  direction  of  Eugene  Presbrey. 
Mr.  Howard  took  a  definite  pleasure  when  the  enter- 
prise had  closed  in  calling  to  my  attention  the  fact  that 
the  only  plays  that  had  made  any  worth-while  impression 
were  one  offered  by  a  professional  dramatist,  Clyde  Fitch, 
a  little  thing  called  "The  Harvest,"  which  he  subse- 
quently elaborated  into  "The  Moth  and  the  Flame," 
and  Brander  Matthews's  one  act-play  entitled  "The 
Decision  of  the  Court."  Besides  a  very  generous  sub- 
scription fund,  McDowell  lost  a  substantial  sum  of  his 
own — as  I  remember  it,  thirty-odd  thousand  dollars. 

I  saw  these  performances,  and  after  a  lapse  of  thirty 
years  I  remember  three  distinct  features:  The  small  talk 
of  a  fashionable  company  waiting  for  the  bridal  couple 
in  a  church,  which  made  up  the  background  of  Fitch's 
little  play;  a  line  from  Frank  Stockton's  "Squirrel  Inn" 
spoken  by  Mary  Shaw,  who  played  the  part  of  a  trained 
nurse  applying  for  a  position,  and  who  when  the  anxious 
mother  asked  her  if  she  understood  babies  answered,  "  I 
ought  to,  I  dissected  one";  a  third  incident  wherein 
Joseph  Wheelock,  Sr.,  played  the  part  of  a  harassed  hus- 
band, whose  wife  was  a  drug-fiend.  Each  sympathetic 
friend  that  came  upon  the  stage  took  the  husband's  hand 
and  gripped  it  in  silent  sympathy.  As  the  audience  be- 
gan to  titter  over  the  repetition  of  this  business  Wheelock 
became  sensitive.  He  put  his  hand  behind  him  when 
Nelson  Wheatcroft,  the  next  member  of  the  company, 
came  near  him  in  a  succeeding  scene.  Feeling  that  some- 
thing depended  on  the  gesture,  Wheatcroft  took  Wheelock 
by  the  elbow,  recovered  the  hidden  hand  and  shook  it 

THE  EARLY  90'S  331 

to  general  laughter  that  almost  closed  the  performance. 
It  is  interesting,  at  least  to  me,  that  out  of  this  expensive 
essay  these  somewhat  technical  points  should  be  the 
lasting  impressions,  and  that  all  the  fine  literary  offer- 
ings intended  for  the  reformation  of  the  theatre  should 
have  so  vanished. 

In  these  early  90*5  Joseph  Brooks  conceived  the  idea 
of  having  a  play  written  with  George  Washington  as  the 
central  character.  This  was  suggested  by  the  resem- 
blance between  the  portrait  of  Washington  and  that  of 
Joseph  Holland,  then  at  the  height  of  his  popularity  as 
an  actor.  Brooks's  idea  was  to  associate  Joe  and  his  older 
brother  Edmund.  I  undertook  to  write  the  play,  and 
made  a  fairly  thorough  study  of  Washington's  life  and 
times.  Avoiding  the  error  of  the  biographical  play  which 
tries  to  cover  too  much,  I  confined  my  story  to  the  period 
when  Washington  was  a  colonel  of  the  Virginia  militia, 
and  before  he  had  married  Martha  Custis.  I  found  a 
character  for  Ed  Holland  in  Virginia's  Scotch  governor, 
Dinwiddie.  When  the  play  was  done  the  professional 
engagements  of  the  two  men  did  not  allow  them  to  under- 
take it  immediately,  and  before  both  were  at  liberty  one 
had  fallen  ill.  The  joint  project  was  abandoned.  Having 
faith  in  the  play,  I  wanted  to  see  it  tried,  and  for  that 
purpose  went  to  Boston,  where  the  Castle  Square  Stock 
Company  at  that  time  had  as  leading  man  Jack  Gilmour, 
bearing  considerable  resemblance  in  face  and  figure  to 
the  traditional  Washington.  This  stock  company  played 
a  new  play  every  week,  having  only  five  rehearsals  in 
which  to  prepare. 

On  our  first  night  a  young  actor  who  was  playing 
Bryan  Fairfax,  with  two  scenes  in  the  first  act,  was  not 
at  hand  when  we  reached  his  second  one.  The  usual 


efforts  to  hold  the  stage  were  made,  but  we  finally  had 
to  ring  down.  The  young  man  when  found  was  in  his 
dressing-room  in  his  underclothing,  having  forgotten  his 
second  scene  and  begun  to  dress  for  his  second  act.  This 
was  explained  to  the  audience,  but  when  we  rang  up 
again  the  whole  thing  had  taken  on  such  an  air  of  un- 
reality that  two  or  three  other  mistakes,  which  have  a 
fashion  of  running  in  groups  on  hard-luck  nights  in  the 
theatre,  destroyed  any  impression  we  might  have  hoped 
for.  Later  performances  convinced  me  that  I  had  a  good 
play,  but  it  was  never  done  after  that  week. 

Brooks  went  to  the  production  of  a  new  play  for  Crane 
called  "The  Governor  of  Kentucky,"  written  by  Franklin 
Fyles.  At  the  end  of  rehearsals,  star,  manager,  and  di- 
rector felt  they  were  in  bad  shape  as  to  story.  At  their 
dress  rehearsal,  at  the  request  of  the  author,  I  indicated 
what  I  thought  were  the  weaknesses,  suggested  the  reme- 
dies, and  told  them  what  I  thought  the  Tuesday  morning 
papers  would  say.  Remembering  our  quick  revision  of 
"For  Money,"  Brooks  hoped  something  of  the  same 
kind  could  be  done  with  "The  Governor/'  On  Tuesday 
I  was  waked  by  telephone  at  daylight,  and  at  his  request 
came  at  once  from  New  Rochelle.  By  arrangement  we 
met  Presbrey  and  Fyles.  Fyles  approved  of  all  the  pro- 
posed changes,  but  not  being  in  good  health  left  the  work 
with  Presbrey  and  me.  Between  us  we  had  a  revised 
script  that  evening,  and  the  version  went  on  before  the 
end  of  the  week.  Brooks  insisted  on  paying  for  the  day's 
work.  When  I  hesitated  to  name  a  figure  he  suggested 
the  cancelling  of  a  thousand-dollar  note  of  mine  which 
he  held.  I  agreed. 

A  little  later  than  this  Harry  Woodruff  came  to  see 
me  at  New  Rochelle.  He  had  then  left  the  stage  and 

THE  EARLY  90'S  333 

been  two  years  at  Harvard  College  under  romantic  con- 
ditions. Harry  had  won  the  affections  of  a  daughter  of 
a  wealthy  family  whose  members  objected  to  an  actor 
as  a  husband  for  the  young  woman.  They  agreed,  how- 
ever, that  if  Woodruff  would  go  through  Harvard  and 
equip  himself  for  another  profession  the  objections  would 
be  withdrawn.  They  also  agreed  to  pay  his  way.  While 
Woodruff  was  at  his  studies  the  family  took  the  young 
girl  abroad  and,  with  a  change  of  scene  and  her  wider 
opportunities,  succeeded  in  arranging  for  her  an  alliance 
with  one  of  the  nobility.  With  this  accomplished,  the 
family  had  notified  Woodruff  that  the  financial  support 
they  were  giving  him  at  the  university  would  be  with- 
drawn. Harry  was  courageously  making  arrangements 
to  pay  his  own  way  through  the  remaining  two  years, 
and  regretting  that  he  had  not  secretly  married  the  girl, 
as  he  had  an  opportunity  to  do. 

This  possible  set  of  relations — a  young  man  in  college 
secretly  married  and  the  family  trying  to  marry  his  wife 
to  a  foreign  nobleman — struck  me  as  a  pretty  complica- 
tion for  a  comedy.  Having  a  contract  with  Goodwin 
for  something  to  follow  "In  Mizzoura,"  I  developed  that 
story  into  a  three-act  play  which  I  called  "Treadway  of 
Yale."  Goodwin  accepted  both  the  scenario  and  the 
finished  script,  but  before  the  time  came  for  production 
he  married  Maxine  Elliott,  of  whose  dramatic  ability  he 
had  such  high  opinion  that  he  thought  the  comedy  gave 
her  insufficient  chance.  He  therefore  forfeited  his  ad- 
vance payments  on  it  and  returned  the  script.  It  was 
produced  some  time  later  under  the  title  of  "On  the 
Quiet"  by  William  Collier  under  the  management  of 
Will  Smythe,  and  later  revived  by  Charles  Frohman 
when  Collier  passed  under  his  direction.  Collier  went  to 


London  with  the  piece.  During  his  successful  run  with 
it  there  Willie  had  occasion  to  be  measured  for  a  suit  of 
clothes.  An  English  tailor,  amused  with  his  American 
manner,  endeavored  to  spoof  him,  a  risk  that  no  Amer- 
ican tailor  would  have  taken. 

As  he  ran  his  tape  over  him  he  said  in  his  blandest 
manner:  "I  saw  you  last  night,  sir,  in  your  very  amus- 
ing comedy.  Have  you  played  that  before  the  King?" 

Collier  said:  "I  played  it  before  anybody.  I'm  the 

Along  in  this  epoch  that  I  am  so  informally  trying  to 
describe  I  was  one  day  in  a  dark  theatre  listening  to  a 
rehearsal  of  a  song  intended  for  Marie  Cahill,  at  that 
time,  I  think,  still  with  Daly,  or  maybe  with  Duff.  In 
the  syncopated  accompaniment  there  was  a  hesitation 
not  unlike  that  intermitting  heart  jump  that  so  frightens 
one  until  the  family  doctor  with  his  fingers  on  one's  wrist 
says:  "Too  much  coffee."  The  radiant  composer-piano- 
player  bawled  above  his  racket  to  Miss  Cahill:  "Hear 
that  ragtime?"  She  did.  I  was  at  some  loss  to  distin- 
guish it,  but  that  was  my  introduction  to  the  term  and 
to  the  manner.  Soon  thereafter,  a  year  or  two,  "rag- 
time" was  a  stock  word.  Some  more  years  and  it  divided 
space  and  attention  with  jazz.  Both  are  negroid.  On  the 
border-line  of  the  back  belt  I  had  been  brought  up  on 
darky  music.  While  the  melancholy  of  slavery  was  upon 
them  the  negroes,  intensely  responsive  to  and  expressive 
in  music,  had  found  a  solace  in  the  Stephen  Foster  "  Ken- 
tucky Home"  kind  of  melody  and  a  racial  cadence  woven 
into  the  tunes  of  the  Baptist  hymnal.  Their  lighter  out- 
put just  after  abolition  was  of  the  rap-tap-a-tap-tap 
school  of  sand  dance,  the  McNish  silence-and-fun  variety. 
When  full  equality  got  onto  Sixth  Avenue,  ragtime,  the 

THE  EARLY  90'S  335 

African  tom-tom  in  a  red  vest,  made  its  appearance. 
Jazz  was  its  offspring.  Jazz  is  ragtime  triumphant  and 
transfigured,  the  Congo  arrived  at  kingdom  come. 

The  nation's  feet  kept  time.  The  two-step  gave  way  to 
the  fox-trot  and  the  shimmy  came  along  with  jazz.  Cen- 
tral Africa  saw  ghosts.  Some  moralist  speaks  of  a  cer- 
tain ferocity  in  nature  which,  "as  it  had  its  inlet  by 
human  crime,  must  have  its  outlet  by  human  suffering." 
Why  may  not  jazz  be  the  cutaneous  eruption  of  the  virus 
of  black  slavery?  If  Davies  and  Vaughan  are  accurate 
in  their  translation  of  Plato's  "  Republic  "  the  idea  is  not 
so  novel  as  the  inquiry,  for  therein  Plato  says: 

"The  introduction  of  a  new  kind  of  music  must  be 
shunned  as  imperilling  the  whole  state,  since  styles  of 
music  are  never  disturbed  without  affecting  the  most 
important  political  institutions.  The  new  style,"  he 
goes  on,  "gradually  gaining  a  lodgment,  quietly  insinu- 
ates itself  into  manners  and  customs;  and  from  these  it 
issues  in  greater  force,  and  makes  its  way  into  mutual 
compacts;  and  from  compacts  it  goes  on  to  attack  laws 
and  constitutions,  displaying  the  utmost  impudence,  un- 
til it  ends  by  overturning  everything,  both  in  public  and 
in  private." 

It  might  no  doubt  amuse  Plato  to  take  fifty  years  of 
musical  progression  in  America  and  check  its  changes 
against  our  changing  compacts,  laws,  and  constitutions. 

"But,  say,  this  guy  Plato — where  does  he  get  that 
compax-and-constatution  stuff?  Who  wised  him  to  any- 
thing about  show  business?  An'  lissun !  This  Davus 
and  Vaughan — words  by,  music  by — I  never  ketch  them 
on  no  big  time  neither." 

Frederic  Remington,  with  a  natural  social  philosopher's 
view  of  them  as  they  worked  not  only  in  the  theatre  but 


in  life,  refused  to  believe  that  the  overflowing  tide  of 
ignorance  was  destined  to  inherit  the  fruits  of  the  earth. 
He  disliked  the  growing  influence  of  the  unassimilated 
immigrants.  He  hated  the  political  herding  of  them. 
He  loathed  all  politicians  because  they  talked.  He  loved 
the  soldiers  because  the  military  acted  promptly  and 
without  debate.  In  his  day  in  the  West  the  local  advent 
of  troopers  meant  sudden  and  inflexible  order.  He  saw 
humanity's  future  safe  only  under  military  discipline. 
We  differed,  but  I  liked  his  mettle  and  his  impatience 
with  conditions.  At  Remington's  I  met  several  of  his 
soldier  friends,  among  them  General  Nelson  A.  Miles, 
then  the  commanding  major-general;  also  Captain  Fran- 
cis Michler,  decorated  for  gallant  service  against  Indians 
in  Arizona  in  1872  and  1873. 

When  finally  confused  with  the  rewrites  and  inven- 
tions for  the  theatre  in  which  I  was  then  becoming  in- 
volved, I  resolved  again  to  go  for  a  subject  to  the  plain 
and  primitive  things  as  far  as  one  could  find  them.  En- 
couraged by  Remington,  and  definitely  interested  by  his 
enthusiasm,  I  took  a  mandatory  letter  that  Remington 
got  from  General  Miles  to  all  commandants  in  the  West 
instructing  them  to  give  me  information  and  assistance, 
and  with  no  preconceptions  as  to  story  went  to  Arizona 
in  1897  to  get  a  play.  It  was  an  important  turning-point 
in  my  career. 


In  preceding  chapters,  in  trying  to  tell  how  I  came 
to  go  at  the  business  of  writing  plays,  to  tell  how  my 
attention  was  led  in  that  direction  and  how  information, 
experience,  and  material  for  the  work  were  gathered,  I 
have  tried  to  use  discrimination.  This  is  probably  not 
apparent,  but  as  I  mentally  review  what  I  have  con- 
sidered the  high  lights  of  this  irregular  report  I  am  con- 
scious of  much  that  has  been  omitted. 

For  example,  there  were  the  facts  and  happenings 
connected  with  making  a  play  which  was  called  "New 
Blood,'*  and  was  produced  by  Mr.  Joseph  Brooks  late  in 
the  summer  of  1894.  If  this  publication  were  political 
in  its  character  I  might  slam  ahead  and  call  a  lot  of  people 
a  lot  of  names,  because,  fair-minded  and  unprejudiced 
as  I  have  tried  to  be,  I  fear  that  I  am  a  good  deal  par- 
tisan. I  have  frankly  told  that  as  a  young  man  I  was  a 
Master  Workman  in  the  Knights  of  Labor.  I  deeply 
sympathized  with  the  working  classes  of  the  country, 
to  which  I  thought  I  belonged,  and  their  problems  be- 
came my  own  as  far  as  study  and  investigation  went, 
and  also  as  far  as  I  could  express  myself  and  be  tolerated 
as  a  member  of  one  of  the  principal  political  parties.  I 
made  speeches  in  all  the  presidential  campaigns  after  I 
became  of  age,  and  occasionally  talked  in  local  cam- 
paigns in  the  congressional  years. 

It  will]  be  remembered  that  in  the  early  po's  two  ab- 
sorbing considerations  in  the  country  were  the  trusts 



and  the  money  question.  The  Populists  and — strongly 
influenced  by  them — the  Democrats  were  urging  the 
free  and  unlimited  coinage  of  silver;  the  Republicans 
were  also  urging  the  coinage  of  silver,  but  after  an  in- 
ternational agreement.  The  most  outspoken  of  their 
party  at  that  time,  Senator  Henry  Cabot  Lodge,  was 
for  the  unlimited  coinage  of  silver  and  a  discriminating 
tariff  that  should  force  England  from  her  gold  standard 
into  bimetallism.  Senator  William  V.  Allen,  of  Nebraska, 
a  man  who  had  much  of  the  physical  appearance,  the 
habit  of  thought,  and  the  oratorical  power  of  our  present 
Senator  Borah,  characterized  this  advice  by  Senator 
Lodge  as  "simply  a  piece  of  Yankee  ingenuity."  Mr. 
Allen's  party,  the  Populist,  was  at  one  with  the  Demo- 
cratic Party  in  its  fight  against  the  trusts,  and  the  Re- 
publican Party  was  not  far  behind  in  a  wish  to  regulate 
those  combinations. 

With  the  trusts  as  a  sustaining  theme,  I  had  written  a 
play  in  which  a  manufacturing  company  was  divided 
against  itself.  A  son,  impersonated  by  Mr.  Wilton  Lack- 
aye,  in  sympathy  with  the  new  spirit  of  regulation,  was 
at  war  in  the  board  of  directors  with  his  father,  played 
by  Mr.  E.  M.  Holland,  who  adhered  to  the  older  ideas 
of  a  man  managing  his  own  business  in  his  own  way. 
When  the  play  was  ready  Mr.  Brooks  engaged  one  of 
the  best  companies  that  could  be  got  together  at  that 
time.  Besides  the  two  excellent  actors  named,  the  cast 
included  also  Maurice  Barrymore,  C.  W.  Couldock,  J.  H. 
Stoddart,  George  Nash,  Jack  Barnes,  FfoIIiet  Paget,  and 
Anne  O'Neill,  a  prominent  ingenue  of  that  time  who  soon 
afterward  married  and  left  the  stage. 

Shortly  before  we  got  ready  for  our  production  some 
of  the  forces  that  I  had  been  endeavoring  to  estimate 


and  depict  came  into  collision.  The  most  outstanding 
figure  on  the  labor  side  was  Mr.  Eugene  Debs,  now,  in 
1922,  in  the  public  eye  because  of  his  attitude  during 
the  World  War  and  his  consequent  incarceration  at  At- 
lanta and  his  subsequent  pardon  from  that  place  by 
President  Harding.  In  1894  Mr.  Debs  had  asked  that 
a  difference  of  opinion  between  the  Pullman  Company 
and  the  men  working  in  the  Pullman  car  shops  at  the 
town  of  Pullman,  near  Chicago,  should  be  submitted 
to  arbitration.  Mr.  George  M.  Pullman,  the  president, 
who  had  been  a  great  benefactor,  in  that  he  had  built 
a  model  city  for  his  employees,  was  deeply  hurt  at  what 
he  considered  their  ingratitude,  and  declined  to  discuss 
arbitration.  Writing  in  a  magazine  of  his  attitude  at 
that  time,  and  the  various  patents  the  Government  had 
granted  him,  Doctor  Albert  Shaw  said: 

Mr.  Pullman  should  certainly  feel  very  good-natured,  indeed, 
toward  a  nation  that  has  afforded  him  such  unparalleled  opportuni- 
ties and  has  rewarded  his  talent  and  energy  with  such  colossal  trib- 
utes of  wealth.  ...  To  very  many  people  it  seemed  clear  that  he 
ought  not  to  have  allowed  his  local  quarrel  to  go  on  unsettled  and 
unappeased  until  it  had  assumed  continental  proportions. 

The  same  impartial  writer  condemned  Mr.  Debs  for 
extending  the  strike  to  the  American  railroad  unions 
and  through  them  obstructing  trains  that  carried  Mr. 
Pullman's  cars.  When  Mr.  Debs  did  this  he  also  stopped 
trains  on  which  there  were  the  United  States  mails,  with 
the  result  that  President  Cleveland  stepped  into  the  situ- 
ation, and  when  our  "New  Blood"  company  approached 
Chicago  toward  the  end  of  July  the  train  on  which  it 
was  ran  through  a  district  with  miles  of  burning  freight- 
cars  on  either  side  and  arrived  in  Chicago  to  find  that 


city  under  martial  rule,  with  field  artillery  strung  along 
the  lake  front  and  commanding  the  approaching  streets. 
The  people  who  came  at  night  to  see  our  Chicago  per- 
formance were  obliged  to  show  tickets  to  soldiers  at  inter- 
secting corners  and  establish  the  peaceable  character  of 
their  errands. 

Of  course,  in  that  milieu,  with  that  subject  and  that 
excellent  company,  the  management  thought  we  had 
the  greatest  American  play  that  could  be  written.  Mr. 
Palmer  came  on  to  see  it,  and  immediately  offered  Mr. 
Brooks  time  at  his  Broadway  theatre.  He  even  suggested 
strengthening  the  already  strong  cast  by  substituting 
Elita  Proctor  Otis  and  Katherine  Grey  for  the  ladies  al- 
ready named.  Mr.  Charles  Richman  was  engaged  in 
the  place  of  Mr.  Barnes.  This  desire  for  betterment 
went  through  every  department  of  the  production.  At 
a  little  tete-a-tete  between  Barrymore  and  Lackaye  in 
the  piece,  followed  by  a  love  scene  between  Barrymore 
and  Miss  Grey,  the  men  in  Chicago  had  lighted  their 
cigarettes  with  a  match,  but  for  New  York  we  had  a 
fine  double-decked  copper  outfit  that  stood  on  the  table 
and  burned  alcohol. 

On  the  first  night  in  New  York,  at  the  most  critical 
moment,  this  alcohol  became  superheated,  overflowed 
its  lamp,  made  a  flare  on  the  copper  tray.  People  in  the 
audience  began  to  gather  up  their  wraps;  Reuben  Fax, 
who  was  playing  a  butler,  came  on  and  backed  off  with 
this  flaming  exhibition,  but  too  late  to  recover  attention, 
and  a  most  essential  part  of  the  exposition  of  the  story 
was  lost.  Miss  Otis  had  procured  a  new  silk  dress  for 
the  new  engagement,  very  snugly  fitting  a  week  before 
the  play.  That  interval  of  hope  and  maybe  enter- 
tainment, however,  contributed  enough  added  outline  to 


burst  the  new  dress  in  a  hurried  adjustment,  and  a  second 
act  was  held  several  minutes  while  the  modiste  put  in 
a  gore.  The  whole  night  took  on  a  tone  of  unreality. 
In  a  dispute  between  Mr.  Palmer  and  Mr.  Brooks  over 
stage  hands,  extra  ones,  though  needed,  were  not  en- 
gaged, and  altogether  it  was  one  o'clock  before  our  first 
performance  ended.  Our  New  York  press  was  as  bad 
as  Chicago's  had  been  favorable.  Charley  Frohman  saw 
the  play  in  the  middle  of  the  week  and  liked  it.  But  in 
his  characteristic  way  he  touched  at  once  upon  what  he 
thought  made  it  fail. 

A  strike-leader  who  has  been  shown  into  his  employer's 
breakfast-room,  after  stating  his  claim  and  the  condition 
of  his  people,  points  to  the  table  and  says,  "What  you 
have  left  there  on  your  plate,"  and  so  on. 

Charley  said:  "That  workman  saying,  'Those  bones 
are  as  much  as  one  of  our  families  gets  for  a  day,'  was 
speaking  to  a  parquet  full  of  people  that  leave  bones. 
You  can't  say  those  things  on  the  Atlantic  seaboard, 
although  you  may  in  Chicago." 

My  own  belief  is  that  the  play  came  when  papers  and 
magazines  were  so  full  of  the  stuff  that  the  public  looking 
for  entertainment  didn't  want  any  more  of  it.  But  it 
had  been  written  under  conditions  less  hectic. 

As  a  playwright  I  was  depressed  and  needed  encour- 
agement. I  thought  I  had  been  writing  from  my  knowl- 
edge of  the  Middle  West  and  from  my  experiences  as  a 
young  man,  and  that  those  were  all  I  had  that  was  val- 
uable to  tell.  I  was  forgetting  that  a  man's  education 
may  constantly  go  forward,  and  if  he  is  a  writer  or  a 
painter  or  sculptor  people  would  still  be  interested  in 
seeing  things  through  his  temperament.  An  older  man 
at  that  time,  L.  J.  B.  Lincoln,  said  encouraging  things. 


He  was  not  a  writer  himself,  but  he  had  been  a  lecturer, 
and  was  more  particularly  a  handler  of  literary  men. 
He  had  a  paper  organization  of  audiences  in  Boston, 
New  York,  and  Chicago  to  which  he  gave  what  he  called 
uncut  leaves,  papers  yet  unpublished,  that  their  respec- 
tive authors  read  aloud. 

Lincoln  was  walking  with  me  up  Fifth  Avenue  to  the 
Grand  Central  Station,  on  his  way  to  spend  the  night 
at  our  home  in  New  Rochelle,  and  I  said:  "Line,  I  think 
I'm  written  out." 

He  laughed  the  jolliest,  most  reassuring  laugh  that  a 
man  making  that  speech  could  ask  to  hear,  and  then 
told  me  of  the  number  of  men  he  had  heard  say  the  same 
thing  at  about  the  same  period  in  experience.  His  ob- 
servation was  that  this  fear  came  to  them  in  a  fallow  time, 
and  frequently  preceded  the  best  of  their  work.  Sup- 
porting his  belief,  he  said  much  more  in  the  same  direc- 
tion. The  first  play  I  wrote  after  this  encouragement 
of  Lincoln's  was  "Arizona."  Among  other  plays  written 
after  that  time,  also,  were  "The  Earl  of  Pawtucket," 
"The  Other  Girl,"  "Mrs.  Leffingwell's  Boots,"  "The 
Witching  Hour,"  "As  a  Man  Thinks,"  and  "The  Cop- 

That  night  at  New  Rochelle,  as  Lincoln  sat  reading, 
I  endeavored  to  make  in  the  guest  book  a  caricature  of 
him;  but  as  I  look  at  it  now  it  is  less  caricature  than 
portrait.  I  have  said  Lincoln  was  not  a  writer,  by  which 
I  mean  writing  was  not  a  source  of  income  to  him;  but 
he  was  skilful  and  entertaining  when  he  tried  it.  A  year 
or  two  later  he  had  to  furnish  an  introduction  to  some 
"Annals"  of  The  Lambs,  at  that  time  the  most  powerful 
and  most  interesting  theatrical  club  in  America.  Because 
the  opening  paragraph  of  his  paper  leads  attractively  to 


its  subject,  and  because  it  is  a  fairly  condensed  expression 
upon  masculine  club  life  in  general,  and  because  it  is  a 
good  indication  of  Lincoln's  style  as  well  as  a  good  ex- 
ample of  impromptu  performances,  I  wish  to  quote  it. 
He  said : 

The  evolution  of  Bohemia  as  a  factor  in  civilization  may  be  written 
from  the  annals  of  clubdom.  From  the  day  when  neolithic  man 
emerged  from  his  cave  and  discovered  that  the  grape-juice  which 
he  had  squeezed  into  a  cocoanut  shell  the  day  before  had  become  a 
beverage  whose  ruddy  glow  tingled  his  heartstrings  and  made  him 
forget  his  troubles,  he  became  convivial.  Becoming  convivial,  he 
called  his  friends  about  him  and  established  a  club.  Since,  an  un- 
broken line  of  care-dispelling,  self-forgetting,  self-despising  good 
fellows;  Arcadians,  Corinthians,  Bohemians.  So  the  Anglo-Saxon, 
in  his  gradual  absorption  of  the  best  things  in  civilization,  has  de- 
veloped to  its  greatest  value  the  essence  of  club  life — the  dining  club. 
Literature  in  English  rings  with  that  especial  institution.  From  the 
imagination  of  Chaucer  in  his  Canterbury  Pilgrimage  to  the  realities 
of  Ben  Jonson's  Apollo  and  the  Mermaid  Inn;  from  the  Kit-Kat 
Club,  Will's  CofFee-House,  and  the  still  extant  Cheshire  Cheese — 
with  its  hallowed  chair  of  Doctor  Johnson — to  the  countless  groups 
which  now  meet  in  and  out  of  Alsatia  to  engender  the  flow  of  wisdom 
which  a  hospitable  round-table  can  alone  induce,  there  is  one  long 
and  brilliant  procession  of  Bohemians  of  every  rank  and  class,  with- 
out whom  language  becomes  tame,  art  pedantic,  and  life,  as  Mr.  Man- 
talini  so  succinctly  put  it,  "one  demnition  grind." 

Having  been  thus  respectful  to  Luther  Lincoln's 
memory,  and  after  stating  further  that  he  was  one  of 
the  most  vital  influences  of  an  artistic  and  literary  kind 
that  ever  came  into  The  Lambs,  I  hope  I  shall  be  for- 
given for  talking  of  him  in  lighter  vein.  With  all  his 
ability  to  encourage  other  men,  there  was  a  touch  of 
fatalistic  despondency  in  him  concerning  himself.  Not 
any  of  his  male  forbears  of  whom  he  had  information 


had  lived  beyond  fifty  years.  Lincoln  had  a  premonition 
that  fifty  would  be  his  limit,  and  it  was.  This  death- 
sentence  feeling  made  him  take  the  pleasures  of  life  as 
they  came.  Like  the  preceding  members  of  his  family, 
he  lost  some  ten  years  before  his  death  the  sight  of  one 
eye.  To  save  the  other  it  became  necessary  to  remove 
this  useless  member,  and  it  was  replaced  by  an  artificial 
eye.  Both  eyes  were  overhung  with  fairly  heavy  brows 
and  were  behind  spectacles.  Lincoln  during  the  last 
hours  of  some  all-night  sessions  sometimes  closed  the 
good  eye  and  slept,  while  the  artificial  eye  remained  on 
duty,  and  looked  steadily  at  the  detaining  monologist. 
In  one  of  these  slumbering  moments  he  was  leaning  on 
the  little  bar  of  the  old  Thirty-sixth  Street  clubhouse, 
seemingly  listening  to  a  club  bore  considerably  intoxi- 
cated. It  was  a  warm  night,  and  this  talker  was 
gradually  fascinated  by  the  unwinking  attention  of  Lin- 
coln's glass  eye.  When  he  saw  this  steady  gaze  still  main- 
tained, although  a  fly  alighted  upon  the  pupil  of  the  eye 
and  twiddled  its  hind  legs,  he  felt  that  he  was  the  victim 
of  alcoholic  hallucinations.  The  few  to  whom  he  con- 
fided his  experience  said  nothing  of  the  eye's  being  arti- 
ficial. Lincoln  died  soon  afterward,  and  the  man  never 
drank  alcohol  again. 

When  I  started  West  to  get  "Arizona,"  Frederic  Rem- 
ington superintended  the  organization  of  my  kit  just  as 
he  would  have  arranged  his  own.  It  was  very  much  on 
the  camping-out  order,  with  a  shift  to  something  that 
would  be  presentable  on  formal  occasions.  I  carried,  as 
I  have  said  before,  a  letter  from  General  Miles  to  the 
officers  commanding  the  Western  posts.  I  started  at 
Lincoln's  encouragement  and  counsel,  with  Frederic 
Remington's  good  wishes,  and  the  color  that  I  had  ab- 


sorbed  from  his  talk  and  stories  in  the  preceding  eight 
or  nine  years,  and  added  to  this  equipment  a  most  useful 
admonition  from  Captain  Jack  Summerhayes,  whom  I 
met  in  St.  Louis,  where  I  stopped  a  day  or  two  to  see 
my  people.  Summerhayes  was  attending  to  some  war 
preparations  at  Jefferson  Barracks  and  happened  in  the 
city  for  that  day  only.  Our  meeting  was  accidental. 
His  contribution  was  this: 

That  department  letter  you  carry  will  command  anything  those 
men  can  give  you;  but  they'll  feel  happier  if  their  contributions  seem 
voluntary  and  come  only  under  the  head  of  General  Miles's  permis- 
sion. Also  you  will  find  that  they  are  marooned  out  there,  and  that 
they  will  be  mighty  glad  to  see  you;  that  about  the  only  thing  they 
have  worth  while  to  them  is  their  rank,  and  at  all  times,  especially  in 
the  presence  of  their  junior  officers,  the  more  respect  you  pay  to  that, 
the  more  you  do  to  preserve  its  traditions,  the  happier  you  will  make 
those  old  fellows  feel. 

When,  after  several  weeks  in  the  territory,  I  came  to 
say  good-by  to  Colonel  Edwin  V.  Sumner,  who  had  given 
up  to  me  the  best  room  and  private  bath  in  his  quarters, 
he  said: 

Thomas,  although  you've  been  a  member  of  my  family  here,  I 
never  came  into  a  room  or  went  onto  the  porch  where  you  were  or 
left  a  group  of  which  you  were  a  member  but  that  you  stood  up  at 
my  going  and  coming  just  as  one  of  these  lieutenants  would,  and  I 
want  to  say  to  you  it  made  me  feel  damned  fine. 

I  don't  think  I  would  have  done  anything  to  hurt  that 
brave  officer,  but  I  am  sure  I  would  not  have  been  so 
punctiliously  attentive  to  that  little  ceremony  if  it  hadn't 
been  for  the  friendly  counsel  of  Jack  Summerhayes. 

On  the  way  to  Fort  Grant  one  leaves  the  railroad  at 


Willcox,  at  that  time  a  little  one-street  row  of  one-story 
shops  and  barrooms.  The  hotel  proprietor  told  me  as  I 
came  off  the  train  for  my  first  night  in  Arizona  that 
an  ambulance  with  four  mules  was  there  to  carry  over 
to  the  fort  a  captain  who  was  expected  on  the  train  ar- 
riving at  five  in  the  morning.  I  saw  the  driver  of  this 
outfit  that  night.  He  promised  to  tell  the  captain  of  my 
presence,  and  in  the  morning  I  was  standing  around 
ready  to  be  invited.  But  again,  under  the  remembered 
advice  of  Summerhayes,  I  didn't  spring  my  headquarters 
paper  on  the  captain  or  try  to  address  anybody  except 
the  commandants  to  whom  the  letter  was  directed;  and 
as  it  meant  very  little  to  this  captain  to  learn  that  a 
stranger  wanted  to  go  to  the  fort,  his  four  mules  and  his 
ambulance  ambled  off  without  me.  I  went  some  hours 
later  on  a  little  two-horse  depot  wagon  that  made  a  daily 
trip,  and  was  again  fortunate  in  that  fact,  as  the  driver 
on  that  twenty-mile  jog  told  me  many  useful  things.  I 
was  directed  from  the  colonel's  quarters  to  the  officers' 
club.  There  was  no  attendant.  The  single  room  con- 
tained four  or  five  officers  playing  cards  around  the  table. 
After  a  pause  one  of  them  casually  looked  up.  I  asked 
for  Colonel  Sumner.  He  nodded  toward  that  officer. 
Sumner,  with  his  cards,  paid  no  attention. 

I  said,  "  Letter  from  Washington,"  and  handed  it  to 
him;  and  then,  exactly  as  I  had  seen  messengers  re- 
hearsed in  "Held  by  the  Enemy"  and  "Shenandoah," 
I  stepped  back  and  stood  still.  The  colonel  opened  his 
letter,  glanced  at  it  quickly,  struck  the  table  a  blow. 


AH  the  poker-players  stood  promptly.  I  was  welcomed 
and  introduced  to  the  group,  with  which  I  spent  the 
great  part  of  one  of  the  most  enjoyable  sojourns  of  my 


life.  The  poker  game  was  immediately  broken  up  and 
adjourned,  and  a  half-hour  afterward  I  came  from  a 
refreshing  bath  and  in  my  store  clothes  to  a  fine  midday 
dinner  in  the  colonel's  home  with  his  amiable  wife  and 
wholesome  and  attractive  daughter. 

That  was  on  March  17,  1897.  I  don't  have  to  refer 
to  any  records  to  recover  the  date,  because  from  the 
lunch  we  went  to  the  parade-grounds,  where  a  big  tent 
had  been  set  up  with  a  telegraph  wire  leading  into  it, 
and  the  men  of  three  troops  of  cavalry,  and  I  think  two 
infantry  companies,  gathered  to  hear  the  report  by  rounds 
of  the  championship  prize-fight  between  Jim  Corbett  and 
Bob  Fitzsimmons,  then  beginning  in  Carson  City, 
Nevada.  Among  the  officers  I  saw  one  or  two  faces  that 
struck  me  as  familiar,  and  then  one  of  the  few  civilians 
there,  limping  a  bit  on  a  cane,  I  recognized  as  my  Leaven- 
worth  attorney,  Hon.  Thomas  P.  Fenlon.  He  introduced 
me  to  his  son-in-law,  Captain  Nicholson,  also  at  the  post 
and  in  whose  quarters  he  was  staying.  Nicholson  had 
been  one  of  the  officers  in  Plowman's  court-room  that 
busy  afternoon  eleven  years  before  when  they  had  ridden 
over  from  Fort  Leavenworth  in  full  dress  to  protest  the 
foolish  slander  of  the  talented  Helen  M.  Gouger. 

I  am  working  now  between  the  need  to  economize 
space  and  a  wish  to  talk  freely  enough  about  my  experi- 
ence to  fix  whatever  significance  it  may  have  to  other 
men  trying  to  make  plays.  And  when  I  say  significance 
I  mean  only  that.  I  don't  mean  a  rule  or  a  way  of  doing. 
Each  man  writing  plays  makes  his  own  rules,  and  one 
man  at  different  times  will  have  different  ways.  If  I 
seem  occasionally  minute  it  will  not  be  because  I  regard 
any  act  of  mine  in  epic  fashion,  but  only  because  I  re- 
member it  as  an  articulating  part  of  what  subsequently 


became  machinery  in  a  play.  I  had  been  writing  plays 
too  long  to  be  entirely  free  from  habit.  I  suppose  that  a 
man  sent  out  to  write  a  comic  opera  would  at  least  begin 
by  thinking  in  terms  of  a  quartet.  All  those  fine  soldiers, 
every  sturdy  private,  the  smart  officers,  the  forceful  old 
colonel,  each  of  them  began  to  be  in  my  mind  a  possible 
factor  if  not  centre  of  romance. 

The  officers'  quarters  there  in  Fort  Grant  are  doby, 
and  face  the  parade-ground.  To  the  western  end  of  the 
row  the  first  two  or  three  are  two-story  buildings,  sub- 
stantial as  any  brick  or  brownstone  residences  of  the 
city.  They  then  tail  off  into  bungalows,  with  fine  shady 
porches,  and  all,  because  of  their  doby  walls,  with  cool 
window  and  door  recesses  from  eighteen  inches  to  two 
feet  deep.  I  don't  remember  how  many  ladies  were  in 
the  fort;  I  should  say  half  a  dozen.  The  majority  of 
these,  of  course,  were  married;  and  when  we  have 
checked  off  their  husbands  it  left  a  fine  circle  of  unat- 
tached officers,  attentive,  complimentary,  respectful.  I 
heard  no  breath  of  scandal  or  even  of  gossip  that  in  any 
way  involved  this  compact  little  community,  but  it  was 
impossible  to  view  them  with  an  imagination  bent  by 
the  theatre  without  beginning  to  play  chess  with  their 
reputations.  Nothing  could  be  further  from  fact  than 
any  hint  of  discordance  in  the  household  of  Colonel  Win 
Sumner  and  his  wife,  almost  his  own  age;  but  as  I  wanted 
to  use  him  as  a  principal  character,  I  had  no  compunction 
in  mentally  hooking  him  up  with  a  much  younger  woman, 
somewhat  regretful  of  the  disparity  in  their  years.  Of 
course  this  discontent  of  the  wife  would  be  evident  to 
more  than  one  of  the  young  officers,  if  not  actually  shared 
in  or  promoted  by  one  or  another.  Besides  domestic 
life  at  the  quarters,  there  were  a  few  wives  down  at  the 


barracks,  and  one  or  two  daughters  of  enlisted  men.  My 
difficulty  on  the  first  day  or  two  was  to  keep  an  open 
mind  and  not  have  these  characters  form  associations  in 
my  fancy  that  would  by  repetition  of  the  concept  begin 
to  take  on  the  authority  of  fact. 

As  I  listened  to  Colonel  Sumner  talk  at  his  dinner- 
table  of  cattlemen,  Indians,  and  soldiers;  as  I  heard 
Mrs.  Sumner  tell  of  Tony,  the  doby  messenger  that  came 
down  the  valley  with  social  notes,  I  felt  that  the  field 
was  too  rich  to  make  immediate  commitments  of  selec- 

Some  dispenser  of  mental  tonic  has  said  that  thoughts 
are  things.  I  offer  no  opinion  on  that,  but  if  they  are 
they're  curious  things,  and  it  is  hard  for  one  who  trades 
in  them  to  keep  clear  of  superstition.  I  have  seldom 
begun  to  work  earnestly  upon  any  line  of  reflection  but 
what  that  line  has  been  frequently  twanged  by  cross- 
currents that  the  overcredulous  would  misread.  I  wrote 
earlier  in  these  chapters  of  coincidences,  naming  two  that 
were  noteworthy  in  my  own  experience.  Personally,  I 
am  willing  to  accept  the  explanation  of  somebody  whose 
words,  but  not  whose  name,  I  remember,  to  the  effect 
that  a  line  of  thought  is  like  a  magnetized  wire,  and  that 
particles  from  all  the  waves  and  currents  that  cross  it 
adhere  when  there  is  sufficient  affinity.  If  that  is  true, 
a  man  thinking  along  certain  lines  would  mistake  the 
selection  made  by  his  attention  for  fateful  response. 

I  wonder  if  this  is  an  approach  too  clumsy  to  another 
one  of  these  points.  I  was  slowly  dictating  the  stuff 
above  about  the  military  post  and  was  thinking  as  I 
had  been  thinking  for  a  day  or  two  about  Hooker's  ranch, 
some  ten  or  twelve  miles  away  from  it,  and  how  I  could 
be  accurate  about  certain  items,  when  Robert  Bruce, 


of  Clinton,  Oneida  County,  New  York,  came  to  the 
door.  Mr.  Bruce  has  written  historically  of  incidents 
in  the  Civil  and  Revolutionary  wars.  He  and  I  had  an 
exchange  of  letters  about  the  first  two  or  three  install- 
ments of  these  reminiscences  which  at  this  writing  have 
appeared  in  this  publication,  and  he  had  promised  to 
stop  in  and  see  me  sometime  when  he  was  in  the  city. 
His  call  just  now  interrupting  my  dictation  about  the 
army  post  was  prompted  by  that  invitation,  and  was 
determined  by  the  fact  that  he  had  two  leaves  of  the 
Erie  Railroad  Magazine  of  December  with  an  article  in 
it  about  Mrs.  Forrestine  Hooker,  author  of  "The  Long 
Dim  Trail"  and  other  stories. 

He  brought  it  to  me  because  near  the  finish  of  the  ar- 
ticle the  writer  said  of  Mrs.  Hooker:  "She  married  E.  R. 
Hooker,  son  of  Henry  C.  Hooker,  the  cattle  king  of  Ari- 
zona, and  lived  at  the  Sierra  Bonita  ranch  near  Fort 
Grant  and  Willcox,  where  the  famous  play,  'Arizona/ 
was  written  around  her  as  Bonita  by  Augustus  Thomas." 

Thanks  to  Mr.  Bruce's  call,  I  don't  have  to  cudgel 
my  brain  to  remember  Mr.  Hooker's  first  name,  or  the 
name  of  his  beautiful  daughter-in-law,  who  away  out  in 
the  wilds  played  the  piano  with  such  delightful  skill. 

To  distinguish  him  from  his  brother,  Colonel  Sam  Sum- 
ner,  of  Fort  Myer  fame,  my  Colonel  Sumner  was  called 
by  his  army  friends  Bull.  This  was  an  appellation  af- 
fectionate and  descriptive,  but  not  critical.  He  told  me 
of  the  several  elements  in  the  life  of  that  section  of  Ari- 
zona, particularly  of  the  wild  station  of  San  Carlos  on  the 
Gila  River,  where  so  many  times  a  year  a  troop  of  cavalry 
on  guard  was  relieved  by  one  from  the  post  in  its  mo- 
notonous duty  of  guarding  that  end  of  the  Apache  reser- 
vation and  dealing  out  beef  and  flour  to  the  poor  Indians 


who  came  periodically  to  get  their  supplies  from  the 
government.  He  told  me  also  of  the  ranchers  who  were 
his  neighbors  at  intervals  of  ten  and  fifteen  miles. 

After  a  few  days  at  the  post  I  was  taken  over  to 
Hooker's  ranch.  The  administrative  centre  of  this  was 
also  the  residence  of  Mr.  Hooker,  his  daughter-in-law 
and  grandson.  This  doby  hacienda  was  a  quadrangle 
about  one  hundred  feet  square,  with  blank  walls  some 
eighteen  feet  high  outside.  Three  sides  of  the  inner  court 
were  made  up  of  little  rooms  one-story  high,  with  roofs 
sloping  to  the  centre  and  rising  to  somewhat  less  than 
the  height  of  the  outer  walls,  whose  superior  margin 
served  as  parapet  in  case  of  attack.  A  fourth  side  of  the 
quadrangle,  besides  having  a  room  or  two  and  a  shed  for 
vehicles,  had  a  large  reinforced  double  gate  that  could 
be  thrown  to  and  fastened  with  heavy  bars  and  staples. 
In  the  centre  of  the  court  thus  formed  there  was  a  well, 
so  that  the  colony  might  have  water  to  withstand  a 

Henry  C.  Hooker  was  a  quiet  little  man  who  had  been 
some  twenty-five  or  thirty  years  in  that  locality  selling 
beef  to  "government  and  Apaches";  at  times  on  the 
defensive,  and  at  other  times  on  friendly  terms  with  his 
savage  neighbors.  He  had  known  the  old  Apache  chief, 
Cochise,  the  predecessor  of  Geronimo,  and  had  a  hun- 
dred interesting  tales  of  his  experiences  with  Indians, 
and  cowboys,  and  soldiers.  He  was  under  the  average 
height  of  the  American,  was  slight  and  quiet,  and  while 
adopting  him  I  took  the  liberty  of  replacing  him  in  my 
mind  with  a  more  robust  and  typical  frontiersman;  but 
hundreds  of  the  lines  I  finally  gave  to  Henry  Canby, 
the  rancher  in  the  play  of  "Arizona,"  were  Hooker's  own 
words,  which  I  remembered,  and  as  soon  as  I  was  alone 


set  down  because  of  their  picturesque  quality  and  their 
great  simplicity  and  directness. 

One  speech  that  all  the  Canbys — some  ten  or  four- 
teen that  finally  played  it — used  to  like,  and  which  Doug- 
las Fairbanks,  an  aspiring  youngster  of  the  theatre  long 
before  he  went  into  the  movies,  learned  to  recite,  although 
there  was  never  the  remotest  chance  of  his  playing  that 
part,  was  Hooker's  description  of  his  method  in  selecting 
a  cowboy.  Before  I  had  any  situation  to  justify  it  or 
any  theme  to  which  it  was  pertinent,  I  had  this  speech 
from  that  remarkable  man.  Think  what  a  helpful  nug- 
get this  is  to  be  picked  up  by  a  writer  looking  for  ma- 
terial : 

"We  take  a  man  on  here  and  ask  no  questions.  We 
know  when  he  throws  his  saddle  on  his  horse  whether 
he  understands  his  business  or  not.  He  may  be  a  minister 
backsliding  or  a  banker  savin*  his  last  lung,  or  a  train- 
robber  on  his  vacation — we  don't  care.  A  good  many 
of  our  most  useful  men  have  made  their  mistakes.  All 
we  care  about  now  is,  will  they  stand  the  gaff?  Will 
they  set  sixty  hours  in  the  saddle,  holdin'  a  herd  that's 
tryin'  to  stampede  all  the  time?" 

At  Hooker's  ranch  I  decided  his  daughter-in-law  should 
be  the  heroine  of  my  story.  It  would  take  me  out  of  the 
too  closely  knitted  life  of  the  army  post,  and  while  giving 
a  heroine  who  would  appeal  to  a  young  cavalryman,  as 
the  girls  on  the  ranch  rode  as  well  as  the  men  did, 
it  would  be  a  truthful  and  breezy  touch  of  character, 
especially  as  this  self-reliant  and  athletic  side  was  asso- 
ciated with  the  most  feminine  characteristics  and  accom- 
plishments. Colonel  Sumner  thought  I  should  see  life 
at  San  Carlos.  That  had  been  my  wish  when  planning 
the  play,  as  I  expected  to  get  the  element  of  stir  and 


bustle  for  it  in  an  Indian  uprising.  This  had  the  disad- 
vantage of  harking  back  to  several  other  American  plays, 
and  to  something  of  the  color  of  Jessie  Brown  and  the 
relief  of  Lucknow.  But  there  was  nothing  else  in  sight. 
To  reach  San  Carlos  from  Fort  Grant  was  a  day's  cavalry 
march  up  the  valley  to  Dunlop's,  and  another  day's  ride 
over  the  mountains.  The  first  half  of  this  journey  was 
made  in  an  ambulance  with  mules  drawing  it,  while  a 
small  detachment  of  cavalry,  a  telegraph  construction 
outfit,  two  Indian  guides,  and  five  or  six  pack-mules 
with  supplies  were  in  the  escort.  Dunlop's  was  another 
doby  house,  with  ornamental  steel  ceilings  on  the  ground 
floor,  and  an  upright  piano. 

We  had  an  early  start  the  second  morning,  with  every- 
body in  the  saddle.  Captain  Myer,  in  charge  of  our  de- 
tachment, lent  me  a  handsome  pacing  stallion,  gentle 
and  a  weight-carrier.  The  features  of  our  second  day's 
trip,  none  of  which  1  used  in  the  play  and  which  there- 
fore have  little  place  in  this  recital  except  as  they  con- 
tribute to  a  sense  of  hardship  and  the  stamina  needed 
to  meet  it,  were  narrow  trails  on  the  hogback  of  the  moun- 
tains, where  the  aneroid  barometer  showed  five  thousand 
feet,  and  where  the  path  was  so  narrow  that  everything 
was  intrusted  to  the  animals,  which  carefully  picked 
their  way  one  foot  in  absolute  line  before  the  other,  some- 
times all  four  set  for  a  short  slide  and  often  each  stone 
gingerly  tested  to  make  sure  of  footing,  climbing  grades 
on  which  no  horse  could  have  carried  any  rider,  and  where 
no  tenderfoot,  no  matter  how  stout  of  lung,  could  have 
climbed  in  that  thin  air  unaided. 

The  procedure  was  to  take  with  one  hand  a  tight  grip 
on  the  long  tail  of  your  horse,  and  let  him  pull  you  as 
you  walked  behind  him  and  led  the  horse  for  the  man 


that  followed.  When  the  height  was  reached  where  a 
modification  of  the  grade  made  it  possible  to  get  again 
into  the  saddle,  all  the  company,  troopers  and  Indians 
alike,  were  glad  to  pause  and  recover  breath  before  at- 
tempting to  mount. 

Across  these  ridges  the  wind,  which  is  always  blowing 
at  that  season,  came  at  a  pace  of  forty  miles.  Shoulder 
high  on  our  left  was  a  wall  that  occasionally  grazed  a 
stirrup;  nearer,  on  the  other  side,  a  declivity  dropping 
at  an  angle  of  eighty  degrees  for  three  thousand  feet. 

Myer  called  back:  "Look  out  for  your  hat!  Can't 
go  down  there  for  a  hat !" 

I  said:  "I  wouldn't  go  down  there  for  a  suit  of 

If  I  had  to  write  of  a  man  under  sentence  of  death  I 
believe  I  could  do  it  with  something  resembling  insight. 
Dickens  had  Fagin,  the  night  before  his  execution,  count- 
ing the  nail-heads  on  his  cell  door.  As  our  horses  gingerly 
crept  over  that  trail  I  dramatized  the  roll  or  two  down 
the  sidehill  before  a  fellow's  breath  would  be  out  of  him, 
and  found  myself  computing  the  protective  value  of  a 
ten-thousand-dollar  insurance  policy  in  a  Massachusetts 
company  and  another  accident  policy  somewhere  else, 
and  just  what  provision  a  widow  could  make  of  that 
money  and  of  a  fairly  new  house  after  the  mortgage  was 

There  were  long  stretches  through  the  little  brooks 
between  these  mountains  where  the  chaparral  dragged 
at  your  bootlegs  and  the  higher  switches  slapped  you 
on  the  head  so  that  you  kept  it  tucked  into  the  shoulders, 
with  the  campaign  hat  pulled  down  to  fend  them  from 
drawing  blood.  From  the  perspiration  gathered  in  one 
of  these  levels  we  went  again  to  other  heights  so  cold 


that  last  week  in  March  that  we  turned  up  the  collars 
of  our  leather  jackets  lined  with  sheepskin;  yet  we  rode 
through  bright  air  so  clear  that  the  sun  burned  our  cheeks 
more  swiftly  than  August  in  the  Mississippi  Valley. 

At  noon  we  stopped  a  half  hour  for  dinner  and  to  rest 
the  horses.  It  was  astonishing  to  see  an  Indian  put  a 
coffee-pot  on  two  or  three  little  stones  the  size  of  a  hen's 
egg,  slip  under  it  a  bunch  of  burning  grass  not  larger 
than  a  shaving  brush,  feed  it  with  a  few  splinters,  and 
boil  two  quarts  of  coffee  quicker  than  I  have  ever  seen 
it  heated  upon  a  stove. 

The  Gila  River  is  filled  with  quicksand.  Here  and 
there  is  a  ford.  As  we  approached  the  river  a  trooper 
rode  from  the  fort  a  mile  away,  took  his  station  on  the 
opposite  bank  to  guide  our  string,  which  made  the  ford 
in  Indian  fashion. 

Captain  Myer  called  back:  "Lift  your  feet  out  of  the 
water !  Hold  up  your  horse's  head  or  he'll  lie  down  and 
roll!  Follow  your  leader  closely !" 

At  that  hour  of  sundown,  after  a  day  in  the  saddle,  I 
could  do  everything  commanded  except  hold  up  my  feet; 
they  dragged  inertly  alongside  the  stallion  and  the  river 
flowed  into  them  over  the  boot-tops.  When  we  pulled 
up  at  the  little  bungalows  which  were  our  destination 
two  troopers  helped  me  get  my  right  leg  over  the  back  of 
the  saddle  and  kept  me  from  falling  when  it  reached  the 

A  kindly  fat  old  doctor  who  was  there  looked  me  over 
and  without  the  formality  of  an  introduction  said :  "  Put 
this  man  in  a  hot  bath."  As  he  did  so  I  put  him  into  my 
play.  ^ 

While  in  the  tub  a  striker  brought  me  a  telegram  from 
Colonel  Sumner: 


"How's  the  patient?" 

I  dictated  the  answer:  "Not  so  beautiful  as  he  was, 
but  knows  more." 

When  I  came  down  the  four  steps  of  the  little  shack 
to  go  to  the  mess-room  the  next  morning  I  took  each 
degree  slowly  and  hung  onto  the  banisters  like  a  man 
half  paralyzed.  There  is  nothing  like  a  good  case  of  horse 
rheumatism  to  put  a  tenderfoot  out  of  commission. 

A  week  at  San  Carlos  was  interesting.  One  had  the 
Apache  at  first  hand;  but  as  all  that  color  was  revised 
from  the  play  before  production,  space  for  it  here  would 
only  emphasize  the  fact  that  there  are  a  good  many  chips 
and  much  rejected  material  in  every  workshop.  But 
such  discarded  stuff  is  still  valuable  to  have  in  the  lum- 
ber-room. I  sha'n't  talk  of  deceptive  distances  or  tell 
any  stories  of  men  starting  to  walk  a  seeming  three  miles 
and  learning  that  their  visible  objective  is  fifteen  miles 

Besides,  one  isn't  always  credited.  On  the  trip  home, 
an  hour  or  two  out  of  El  Paso,  is  the  station  Alamogordo. 

A  shrewd  New  Englander  asked:  "What  are  those 
mount'ins  to  the  northeast  there?" 

"Those  are  the  Sierra  Blanca — White  Mountains." 

A  real  Pinkerton,  penetrating,  unwavering  look;  a 
self-possessed  stroke  of  the  chin  whiskers  and  then  cold 

"Young  man,  the  White  Mount'ins  air  in  New  Hamp- 

In  the  territories  on  the  way  back  and  at  home  I  was 
busy  on  the  play,  with  an  Indian  uprising  as  my  prin- 
cipal machinery.  And  in  its  first  draft  the  play  was  so 

Early  in  the  morning  of  February   16,   1898,  James 


Waterbury,  the  agent  of  the  Western  Union  Company 
at  New  Rochelle,  telephoned  me  that  the  Maine  had 
been  blown  up  and  sunk  in  the  harbor  of  Havana.  Know- 
ing the  interest  the  report  would  have  for  my  neighbor, 
Frederic  Remington,  I  immediately  called  him  on  the 
telephone  and  repeated  the  information.  His  only  thanks 
or  comment  was  to  shout  "Ring  off!"  In  the  process  of 
doing  so  I  could  hear  him  calling  the  private  telephone 
number  of  his  publishers  in  New  York.  In  his  mind 
his  own  campaign  was  already  actively  under  way. 

One  incident  of  that  campaign  illustrates  the  primitive 
man  in  Remington.  He  and  Richard  Harding  Davis 
were  engaged  to  go  into  Cuba  by  the  back  way  and  send 
material  to  an  evening  newspaper.  The  two  men  were 
to  cross  in  the  night  from  Key  West  to  Cuba  on  a 
mackerel-shaped  speed  boat  of  sheet-iron  and  shallow 
draft.  Three  times  the  boat  put  out  from  Key  West 
and  three  times  turned  back,  unable  to  stand  the  weather. 
The  last  time  even  the  crew  lost  hope  of  regaining  port. 
Davis  and  Remington  were  lying  in  the  scuppers  and 
clinging  to  the  shallow  rail  to  keep  from  being  washed 
overboard.  The  Chinaman  cook,  between  lurches,  was 
lashing  together  a  door  and  some  boxes  to  serve  as  a 
raft.  Davis  suggested  to  Remington  the  advisability  of 
trying  something  of  the  kind  for  themselves. 

"Lie  still!"  Remington  commanded.  "You  and  I 
don't  know  how  to  do  that.  Let  him  make  his  raft.  If 
we  capsize  I'll  throttle  him  and  take  it  from  him." 

Some  months  later,  on  learning  of  the  incident,  I  tried 
to  discuss  the  moral  phase  of  it  with  him. 

But  he  brushed  my  hypocrisy  aside  with  the  remark: 
"Why,  Davis  alone  was  worth  a  dozen  sea  cooks!  I 
don't  have  to  talk  of  myself." 


It  wasn't  a  difficult  task  to  take  out  all  the  Indian 
stuff  in  my  manuscript  and  to  make  the  motive  the  get- 
ting together  of  a  troop  of  cowboys.  My  impulse  was 
prophetic  of  the  Rough  Riders.  I  wrote  Denton's  cow- 
boy troop  and  the  khaki  jacket  into  the  play  at  once,  and 
changed  such  few  speeches  of  the  script  as  this  introduc- 
tion made  necessary.  On  July  8,  President  McKinley 
nominated  Colonel  Leonard  Wood  to  be  brigadier-gen- 
eral, and  Lieutentant-Colonel  Theodore  Roosevelt  to  be 
colonel  of  the  First  Volunteer  Cavalry. 

A  few  years  ago  I  wrote  some  prefaces  to  precede  cer- 
tain printed  plays  of  mine.  If  it  wasn't  for  fear  that 
watchful  editors  would  strike  out  the  statement  I  would 
quote  the  Boston  Transcript  to  the  effect  that  when 
Thomas  is  dead  these  prefaces  will  be  put  together  in 
limp  leather  and  printed  as  little  classics.  Perhaps  if 
I  don't  tell  the  names  of  the  plays  or  their  publisher  this 
statement  will  get  by.  In  one  of  them  I  said: 

"This  play  was  salvage;  that  is  to  say,  it  was  a  mar- 
keting of  odds  and  ends  and  remnants  utterly  useless 
for  any  other  purpose."  And  elsewhere  in  these  remem- 
brances I've  said  that  all  is  fish  that  comes  to  a  play- 
wright's pond. 

Late  in  the  winter  of  1896,  when  the  other  guests  had 
gone  home  after  dinner,  Mr.  Joseph  D.  Redding,  of  the 
Bohemian  Club,  San  Francisco,  was  at  the  piano  in  our 
living-room  at  New  Rochelle;  listening  to  him  were 
Mr.  Will  Gillette,  my  wife,  and  I.  Redding  was  running 
over  the  keys  and  talking  through  the  music  in  that  enter- 
taining way  which  as  musician  and  talker  he  has  in  such 
eminent  degree. 

Over  one  haunting  melody  he  said:  "Here's  something 


I  heard  a  little  girl  singing  alone,  hidden  from  the  rain  in 
a  doby  doorway  in  Santa  Barbara." 

There  was  a  moment's  silence  when  he  finished  the 
melody,  and  my  wife  said:  "A  little  girl  that  could  sing 
like  that  wouldn't  be  alone." 

Gillette,  in  his  metallic  tenor,  added,  "  Besides,  it  never 
rains  in  Santa  Barbara."  / 

Each  of  these  lines  was  worth  a  smile  to  our  firelight 
party;  and  just  as  I  am  telling  the  story  to  you  I  told 
it  at  a  banquet-table  at  the  Santa  Barbara  Club  in  1901. 
I  hoped  only  for  good-natured  reception  and  was  at  utter 
loss  to  understand  why  men  slapped  each  other  on  the 
back  and  roared  with  glee  and  rocked  on  their  unsteady 
chairs.  The  toastmaster  felt  I  was  entitled  to  an  explana- 
tion. A  real-estate  man  present  explained  the  laugh  by 
telling  that  Gillette  some  years  before  had  bought  a  con- 
siderable country  estate  at  Montecito,  a  suburb  of  Santa 
Barbara.  He  had  bought  it  on  blue-prints  and  photo- 
graphs shown  by  the  agent.  One  of  these  photographs 
showed  a  bounding,  purling  brook,  snapped  immediately 
after  one  of  the  infrequent  rainstorms  of  that  section. 
On  the  other  three  hundred  and  sixty-four  Jays  in  the 
year  this  watercourse  was  dry. 

That  kind  of  thing  amuses  real-estate  men. 

On  that  winter  evening,  however,  Gillette  told  us 
nothing  of  this  dusty  brook,  but  asked  Redding  to  repeat 
his  rainy  music. 

Those  were  the  firelight  times  before  the  introduction 
of  auction  bridge  and  when  people  of  sensibility  some- 
times sat  about  and  played  or  listened  to  little  inter- 
pretations of  that  Redding  kind.  I  have  more  than  once 
solved  some  knotty  problem  in  play-building  by  a  mood 


invited  by  such  musical  half-hours.  That  night  as  Red- 
ding repeated  his  melody  I  slowly  hammered  out  these 

"Her  smile  is  of  pearl  and  of  coral, 

Her  eyes  hold  the  dusk  and  the  dew, 
Her  sigh  has  the  breath  of  the  laurel, 
Her  heart  but  the  poisonous  rue. 

The  heavenly  star  far  above  her, 

The  breeze  of  the  infinite  sea, 
Who  know  all  her  perfidy,  love  her, 

Then  why  call  it  madness  in  me?" 

And  so  on. 

As  much  as  the  character  of  the  music,  the  fact  that 
Redding's  romantic  waif  was  or  was  not  standing  in  an 
adobe  doorway  made  the  subject  doby  to  me.  So  that 
when  Colonel  Sumner's  daughter,  Nan,  told  me  that 
Tony,  the  vaquero,  who  brought  the  letters  from  her 
friends  and  who  had  such  white  teeth,  played  the  man- 
dolin and  sang,  and  I  saw  him,  I  began  weaving  him 
into  my  story,  and  I  gave  him  that  song  of  Redding's. 
Later  Vincent  Serrano's  mother  put  the  words  into  Span- 
ish. I  never  thought  of  Tony  without  humming  its  mel- 
ody, and  when  the  play  was  done,  it  being  a  melodrama 
and  having  the  powerful  old-fashioned  advantage  of  the 
right  to  use  identifying  musical  themes,  "Adios  Amor," 
as  the  song  was  called  when  published,  accompanied 
Tony  through  the  play.  By  having  it  accompany  also 
Lena,  the  unhappy  German  girl  with  whom  he  was  in 
love,  it  knitted  these  two  together  more  firmly  in  the 
minds  of  the  audience  than  any  dialogue  could  do.  Nan 
Sumner  called  my  attention  also  to  Tony's  naive  indiffer- 
ence to  English  profanity.  He  had  learned  good-bad 


all  together,  and  was  unable  to  make  and  untroubled 
by  any  distinction,  so  that  when  I  got  him  into  the  play 
I  was  able  to  have  him  finish  his  lover's  declaration  after 
the  song  with  "and  damn  to  hell  my  soul,  I  love  you!" 



In  its  revised  shape  I  submitted  my  completed  manu- 
script to  Charles  Frohman.  Although  his  influence  had 
procured  the  railroad  transportation  that  I  had  used  in 
getting  to  Arizona,  and  he  had  been  looking  forward  to 
the  completion  of  the  play,  something  in  the  script  or 
in  my  reading  of  it,  because  he  listened  to  the  four  acts 
as  I  read  them,  decided  him  against  this  production. 
With  the  war  on,  managers  were  timid  and  my  melo- 
drama seemed  unlikely  of  early  production.  I  amused 
myself  with  the  conduct  of  The  Lambs'  first  all-star  gam- 

There  are  few  social  clubs  to  whose  functions  one  can 
with  propriety  ask  attention.  But  The  Lambs,  because 
of  its  theatrical  membership  and  prominence,  is  among 
that  few.  For  many  years  an  occasional  night  had  been 
taken  in  the  club  when  members  free  from  professional 
calls  got  together  in  an  entertainment  the  backbone  of 
which  was  some  burlesque  by  some  skilled  man  upon 
some  current  success.  Programmes  from  several  of  these 
intimate  performances  had  occasionally  been  given  to 
the  public  of  New  York.  In  1898  it  was  decided  to  make 
a  much  more  pretentious  appeal  by  players,  all  of  whom 
should  be  stars.  Contracts  for  the  exclusive  services  at 
one  dollar  per  week  for  the  last  week  in  May  were  drawn 
between  the  club  on  one  side  and  on  the  other  Nat  Good- 
win, De  Wolf  Hopper,  Stuart  Robson,  William  Crane, 



Willie  Collier,  Jefferson  D'Angelis,  Chauncey  Olcott, 
Digby  Bell,  Francis  Carlyle,  Wilton  Lackaye,  Harry 
Woodruff,  Charles  Klein,  Eugene  Cowles,  Joseph  Hol- 
land, Harry  Conor,  Fritz  Williams,  Burr  Mclntosh, 
Joseph  Grismer,  Jesse  Williams,  Victor  Herbert,  Ignatio 
Martinetti,  Victor  Harris,  and  some  forty  other  men  of 
almost  equal  prominence;  a  half  dozen  playwrights  and 
as  many  musicians;  also  Victor  Herbert's  band  and 
orchestra  of  fifty  pieces. 

The  company,  all  told,  included  over  one  hundred 
men.  It  was  computed  that  their  joint  salaries,  accord- 
ing to  what  they  were  then  getting  upon  the  road,  would 
for  that  week  have  amounted  to  one  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  thousand  dollars.  Theatres  were  leased  for  one  night 
only  in  New  York,  Brooklyn,  Washington,  Philadelphia, 
Boston,  Springfield,  Pittsburgh,  and  Chicago.  Advance 
work  for  publicity  was  done  in  all  these  cities.  Contracts 
existed  for  a  special  train  of  four  sleepers,  three  dining- 
cars,  and  two  baggage-cars.  Rehearsals  were  well  under 
way  when  war  was  declared.  Matters  of  equal  importance 
from  the  amusement  point  of  view  were  crowded  from 
the  papers  by  the  war  news.  It  would  have  been  possible 
to  cancel  the  tour  and  contracts  and  pay  all  claims  in- 
curred for  some  fifteen  thousand  dollars,  and  such  a  course 
was  advised  by  Joseph  Brooks,  the  manager  at  the  head 
of  the  business  group.  As  general  amusement  director 
of  this  gambol,  which  was  to  lift  the  debt  from  a  new 
clubhouse  recently  built,  the  necessity  of  additional  in- 
debtedness if  we  gave  up  the  trip  decided  me  to  go  on 
with  it.  When  Brooks  quit  I  put  the  business  manage- 
ment up  to  Kirke  La  Shelle,  then  handling  the  Bostonians. 
The  club  gave  the  week  of  gambols  in  the  cities  named 
and  took  in  sixty-two  thousand  dollars. 


This  businesslike  resume  of  that  venture  is  impressive, 
but  the  sentimental  side  of  it  will  appeal  to  those  ac- 
quainted with  the  players.  I  shall  tell  only  of  the  first 
feature  of  the  programme:  an  old-style-minstrel  first 
part,  pyramided  on  the  stage  of  the  Metropolitan  Opera 
House,  in  which,  with  Herbert's  band,  there  were  one 
hundred  men.  The  interlocutor,  end  men,  and  vocalists, 
all  in  the  regulation  evening  dress,  at  the  end  of  the 
opening  chorus  were  on  their  feet.  The  great  audi- 
torium of  the  Metropolitan  Opera  House  was  crowded 
from  parquet  to  dome  with  one  of  the  most  select  audi- 
ences ever  assembled  within  its  walls.  When  we  remem- 
ber that  we  were  only  in  the  first  month  of  our  war  with 
Spain  we  can  form  some  conception  of  the  enthusiasm 
as  this  audience  rose  when  the  medley  finished  with  the 
"Star-Spangled  Banner,"  and  then  the  burst  as  every 
nigger  singer  at  cue  drew  from  the  inside  of  his  white 
vest,  instead  of  a  pocket  handkerchief,  an  American  flag 
of  silk. 

We  had  been  under  pressure  to  start  promptly  in  order 
to  make  train  connections  for  the  next  town,  and  I  am 
not  sure  that  anybody  has  ever  explained  just  why  the 
curtain  was  held.  The  facts  are,  however,  that  it  was 
difficult  for  my  wife  to  get  to  the  Metropolitan  at  8.15 
owing  to  certain  attention  that  our  baby  had  to  have 
at  that  time  before  it  got  to  bed.  She  had  promised  to 
make  haste,  and  I  had  promised  to  stand  in  the  prompt 
entrance  and  if  possible  to  hold  the  curtain  until  I  saw 
her  take  her  seat  in  the  front  row  of  the  dress  circle.  Men 
on  the  stage  were  fretting,  and  the  audience — there  was 
twenty-seven  thousand  dollars  in  the  house — was  getting 
impatient,  but  the  baby  delayed  them  only  four  minutes. 

In  June  of  that  year,  1898,  I  made  my  first  crossing 


of  the  Atlantic  Ocean.  With  us  on  that  boat  were  seven 
members  of  The  Lambs  Club — Chauncey  Olcott,  Wal- 
ter Hale,  Vincent  Serrano,  Rowland  Buckstone,  Joe 
Wheelock,  Jr.,  RuckstuII,  and  one  other.  First-class 
fare  was  fifty  dollars;  the  lowest  quotation  now  is  two 
hundred  and  fifty.  The  old  Victoria  was  a  cattle-boat 
with  bilge-keels — that  is,  an  additional  keel  on  each  side, 
somewhat  below  the  water-line,  to  prevent  her  rolling. 
The  cattle  were  where  the  steerage  ordinarily  is,  and  we 
never  knew  of  them.  The  usual  organizing  person  was 
among  the  passengers,  bent  upon  getting  up  a  concert 
for  the  benefit  of  disabled  seamen.  And  the  captain 
thought  it  would  take  the  passengers'  minds  from  the 
constant  fear  of  Spanish  gunboats — submarines  were 
not  yet  in  use.  Our  American  actors  couldn't  recite,  but 
they  could  play  if  they  had  a  manuscript;  so  with  their 
urging  and  advice  and  occasional  assistance  I  wrote  a 
comedy  about  twenty-five  minutes  long  dealing  entirely 
with  the  ship's  company,  which  we  called  "Three  Days 
Out."  In  it  Chauncey  Olcott  played  an  old  Irishwoman, 
Hale  a  romantic  tenor,  Buckstone  an  English  financier, 
and  young  Wheelock,  who  looked  like  the  bathroom 
steward,  impersonated  that  official,  borrowing  and  wear- 
ing his  clothes  for  the  performance;  Serrano  played  a 
Spanish  cattle-raiser,  RuckstuII  was  a  walking  gentle- 
man, I  was  an  American  business  man.  We  went  aft 
near  the  steering-gear  to  rehearse  it  in  the  open  sunshine. 
Three  days  before  we  got  into  port  we  gave  a  performance 
which  netted  a  handsome  purse  for  the  beneficiaries. 

Charles  Frohman  was  in  London  at  that  time  laying 
his  first  plans  for  his  extensive  theatrical  control  that 
developed  later.  We  had  our  card  filled  with  all  kinds 
of  agreeable  appointments,  and  I  met  then  for  the  first 


time  J.  M.  Barrie,  Bernard  Shaw,  Alfred  Sutro,  Beer- 
bohm  Tree,  George  Alexander,  Arthur  Bourchier,  and 
Max  Beerbohm. 

Our  first  night  in  Paris  was  the  evening  of  July  14, 
the  anniversary  of  the  fall  of  the  Bastille.  Instead  of 
the  firecrackers  and  pinwheels  of  America,  Paris  expressed 
itself  in  street  festivals  and  dances.  In  every  arrondisse- 
ment,  or  ward,  there  was  a  central  gathering  where  music 
was  furnished  by  a  municipal  band  and  where  the  neigh- 
borhood people  danced  on  the  clean  asphalt  of  the  street. 
It  was  into  one  of  these  circles  only  a  few  years  before 
that  Charley  Evans  and  Bill  (Old  Hoss)  Hoey  walked, 
and  catching  the  time  of  the  music  began  an  impromptu 
dance  of  the  American  model.  To  visualize  this  fully 
one  must  remember  Hoey,  with  his  full  black  beard  and 
eccentric  manner;  and  remember  the  natty,  smooth- 
shaven  Charley  Evans  of  those  days  in  his  flat-brimmed 
straw  hat;  and  then  the  pair  of  them  surrounded  by  the 
gradually  widening  circle  of  astonished  Paris  tradesmen 
as  those  two  American  boys  competed  with  each  other 
in  remembered  and  invented  steps  of  vaudeville  assort- 
ment. That  would  be  a  rare  treat  to-day  for  an  American 
audience  familiar  with  that  character  of  dancing  and 
gathered  at  Longacre  Square.  But  at  that  time,  for 
that  simple  pirouetting  bourgeoisie,  it  was  electrically 

I  shall  offer  no  tourist's  impression  of  Paris,  but  there 
is  a  notable  remembrance  of  Jean  Jaures,  the  great  so- 
cialist, pleading  for  evolution,  not  revolution.  He  was 
assassinated  a  few  years  later,  but  Ruck  and  I  went  to 
hear  him  then.  He  talked  upon  the  theme  I  have  fur- 
tively referred  to  in  earlier  chapters,  and  which  in  the 
past  hard  winter  of  unemployment  more  than  one  pub- 


licist  advanced.  Jaures  was  sure  that  the  trouble  with 
capital  and  labor  was  not  one  of  class  warfare,  but  that 
both  classes  in  some  fashion  were  troubled  by  the  ma- 
chine in  industry;  by  competition  between  owners  of 
competing  machinery,  but  principally  by  competition  of 
the  human  creature  against  the  insensate  Frankenstein 
creation.  His  remedy  was  an  ownership  by  the  state  of 
all  the  mechanical  facilities  of  production. 

Some  day  we  shall  discriminately  tax  them  according 
to  wise  conferences  between  all  nations. 

When  we  came  to  recross  the  Atlantic,  in  August, 
there  was  still  some  fear  of  the  Spanish  gunboats. 

As  our  trouble  with  Spain  subsided  I  carried  the  play, 
"Arizona,"  to  Kirke  La  Shelle.  There  was  no  theatre 
available  in  New  York;  he  arranged  for  the  production  of 
the  play  at  Hamlin's  Grand  Opera  House  in  Chicago  the 
following  summer,  1899.  I  have  said  earlier  that  Kirke 
La  Shelle  had  the  quality  of  the  captain,  and  I  am  sure 
that  had  he  lived  he  would  have  been  one  of  the  most 
dominant  influences  in  the  American  theatre.  Only  to 
the  theatrical  reader  will  the  following  be  significant, 
but  the  original  cast  of  "Arizona"  included  Theodore 
Roberts,  Edwin  Holt,  Mattie  Earle,  Mabel  Burt,  Robert 
Edeson,  Olive  May,  Sam  Edwards,  Arthur  Byron,  Vin- 
cent Serrano,  Franklin  Garland,  Walter  Hale,  Lionel 
Barry  more,  and  Menifee  Johnstone;  and  the  four  or  five 
other  characters  were  by  people  of  less  repute  but  of 
equal  earnestness  and  ability.  Few  authors  doing  a 
melodrama  have  had  better  co-operation  than  that. 

There  was  an  incident  of  the  first  night  that  seems  to 
me  worth  telling.  I  had  rehearsed  the  piece  myself,  and 
in  that  work  been  busy.  Having  need  for  a  squad  of 
soldiers  to  bring  on  two  men  under  arrest,  a  few  days 


before  our  opening,  I  spoke  to  a  group  of  supers  that 
had  been  called. 

"Any  of  you  had  military  experience?" 

Two  or  three  replied  affirmatively.  To  the  most  likely 
of  these  I  said:  "Where?" 

"In  Cuba." 

"Can  you  train  four  men  in  the  manual  and  the  drill?" 

He  said,  "Yes,  sir." 

"Pick  your  four  and  report  when  you  have  done  it." 

In  a  little  while  he  was  ready.  At  our  dress  rehearsal 
La  Shelle  and  I  sat  apart  in  the  parquet.  Things  had 
gone  well.  We  were  on  the  last  act.  Two  sympathetic 
characters  were  to  come  on  in  the  custody  of  the  noncom 
and  the  squad.  They  did  so,  the  seven  of  them  marching 
to  their  proper  places  on  the  stage,  with  a  smart  "halt" 
and  "carry  arms." 

I  stopped  the  rehearsal  and  said  to  the  young  man, 
"Go  back  and  make  that  entrance  again." 

While  they  were  going  out  to  do  this  La  Shelle  came 
across  the  parquet  in  the  greatest  earnestness. 

"I  thought  that  was  splendidly  done." 

"So  did  I." 

"Why  did  you  send  them  back?" 

"  I  want  to  see  them  do  it  again." 

In  a  curtain  speech  the  next  night  I  told  this  incident, 
then  reverted  to  a  rehearsal  of  "In  Mizzoura"  some  five 
or  six  years  before  in  Chicago,  when  from  a  similar  group 
of  supers  I  had  asked  for  a  man  who  could  heat  and  weld 
and  put  a  tire  on  a  wheel,  and  found  exactly  the  proper 
helper  for  Burr  Mclntosh,  the  blacksmith.  I  ventured 
the  belief  that  if  I  were  to  write  a  play  about  the  stars 
and  called  upon  a  bunch  of  Chicago  supers  I  could  find 
among  them  a  volunteer  astronomer.  I  told  the  audience 


that  this  young  man  who  had  responded  so  promptly 
as  a  soldier  and  had  drilled  his  squad  so  effectively  would 
be  on  in  the  next  act;  he  didn't  know  I  was  speaking  of 
him,  but  if  the  audience  thought  as  much  of  his  perform- 
ance as  La  Shelle  and  I  had  thought  they  would  under- 
stand why  I  emphasized  it.  When  the  two  prisoners 
and  the  squad  came  on  a  few  minutes  later  they  got  the 
biggest  round  of  the  play.  That  young  super  was  a  lad 
named  Sydney  Ainsworth,  who  the  following  year  was 
playing  a  responsible  part  in  the  play,  and  the  next  year 
with  one  of  the  road  companies  was  playing  the  hero. 
He  became  a  favorite  leading  man. 

On  August  1 8,  in  that  summer  of  1899,  Kid  McCoy 
was  to  meet  Jack  McCormack.  McCoy  had  many  ad- 
mirers in  our  company,  and,  as  I  remember,  the  general 
odds  were  some  four  to  one  on  him.  The  dressing-rooms, 
which  were  under  the  stage  of  the  Grand  Opera  House 
at  that  time,  were  buzzing  with  interest  in  the  approach- 
ing battle  as  our  men  were  making  up  for  the  night. 
Harry  Hamlin  and  I  had  tickets  for  the  fight,  but  de- 
clined to  take  any  of  the  attractive  odds  that  were  of- 
fered at  the  theatre. 

The  meeting  was  only  three  or  four  blocks  away.  As 
the  two  men  faced  each  other  in  the  first  round  Hamlin 
was  searching  his  pockets  for  some  matches.  A  sound  from 
the  ring  and  a  startled  response  from  the  audience  re- 
claimed his  attention.  While  McCoy  had  been  gaily 
guying  with  some  of  the  press  men  at  the  ringside, 
McCormack  had  knocked  him  out  with  the  first  punch. 
Hamlin  and  I  were  soon  back  in  the  theatre.  We  seemed 
to  have  been  only  wandering  from  one  dressing-roonTto 
another.  Lionel  Barrymore,  Arthur  Byron,  Robert 
Edeson,  and  Walter  Hale  had  not  yet  gone  on.  Theodore 


Roberts,  Edwin  Holt,  and  Vincent  Serrano  came  off  in 
a  minute  or  two  from  the  first  act,  and  we  were  able 
quickly  to  take  all  the  bets  offered  on  McCoy  at  the  ex- 
cessive odds.  We  disappeared.  Later  news  came  duly 
to  the  theatre  and  found  a  sad  family.  At  Rector's, 
after  the  performance,  Hamlin  and  I  confessed  to  having 
seen  the  fight  before  the  betting  and  disgorged  our  ill- 
gotten  gains. 

One  notable  engagement  made  that  summer  takes  my 
mind  back  a  few  years  further  to  a  set  of  incidents  that 
seem  amusing.  In  writing  these  reminiscences  I  have 
hit  only  the  high  spots.  To  give  even  a  paragraph  to 
each  of  some  sixty-four  plays  produced  would  be  an  item- 
ized bill  of  grief,  unpardonable  in  any  recollections.  A 
couple  of  years  before  my  trip  to  Arizona  I  had  done 
a  play  for  Mr.  Daniel  Frohman  which  I  read  to  his  scenic 
artist  and  stage-manager  and  him,  and  which  at  that 
time  was  acceptable.  Something  prevented  the  produc- 
tion and  I  revamped  it  from  a  serious  four-act  play  to  a 
three-act  comedy  called  "Don't  Tell  Her  Husband." 
T.  D.  Frawley  had  a  stock  company  at  the  Columbia 
Theatre,  San  Francisco,  under  the  management  of  Gott- 
lob  and  Friedlander.  They  wanted  to  produce  the  play 
under  my  direction  and  sent  me  in  advance  money  for 
railroad  fares,  sleeper,  and  expenses  across  the  continent. 

At  the  railroad  office  I  met  Crane's  manager,  Joseph 
Brooks,  who,  learning  my  destination,  linked  his  arm 
with  mine  and  said:  "Just  starting  for  California  with 
the  Crane  company.  There's  an  empty  section  in  our 
car  and  glad  to  have  you."  He  declined  to  take  my 
money,  saying  it  would  vitiate  his  railroad  contract  if  he 
made  any  subsales,  but  he  added:  "The  boys  play  poker 
and  they  will  be  glad  to  win  that  from  you." 


We  were  four  days  crossing  the  continent.  The  poker 
players  in  Mr.  Crane's  company  were  himself,  Brooks, 
and  my  good  friends  Walter  Hale  and  Vincent  Serrano. 
Under  a  moral  obligation  to  lose  those  one  hundred  and 
twenty-five  dollars  to  them,  I  came  in  on  every  little 
pair  only  to  call  up  that  protecting  fate  that  is  said  to 
hover  over  the  weak-minded  and  the  infantile.  I  landed 
at  the  old  Baldwin  Hotel  with  the  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  intact  and  some  more  contributed  by  the  four  gentle- 
men named.  In  the  delightful  grill  of  that  old  hotel, 
long  since  destroyed  by  fire,  I  saw  Gottlob  and  Fried- 
lander  having  dinner.  Gottlob  came  over  to  my  table. 
I  told  him  the  arrangement  under  which  I  had  travelled 
and  that  had  I  lost  the  money  I  should  have  considered 
it  a  legitimate  although  circuitous  application  of  the 
expense  fund.  Not  having  lost  it,  I  returned  it  to  him. 
It  was  worth  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  dollars  to  see 
that  new  sensation  in  his  business  experience.  He  carried 
the  money  back  to  Friedlander.  They  held  an  excited 
consultation,  regarded  me  curiously;  later  both  joined 
me,  and  after  many  tentatives  as  to  the  kind  of  enter- 
tainment I  would  find  most  agreeable  carried  me  off  to 
a  private  box  at  a  prize-fight  that  was  occurring  that 

In  Mr.  Frawley's  company,  which  contained  such  ex- 
cellent players  as  Frank  Worthing,  Frank  Carlyle,  Fraw- 
ley  himself,  and  Maxine  Elliott,  there  was  also  the  more 
experienced  actress,  Madge  Carr  Cook.  Her  little  daugh- 
ter was  just  beginning  her  stage  experience,  and  as  I 
remember  took  the  part  of  a  maid  to  carry  on  a  card  in 
our  play.  The  girl's  stage  name  was  Eleanor  Robson. 
She  did  so  well  with  Frawley  that  a  short  time  thereafter 
she  was  playing  leads  in  Denver,  and  when  Olive  May 


had  to  leave  the  "Arizona"  company  during  our  summer 
in  Chicago  Eleanor  Robson  came  to  take  her  place.  Not 
since  the  early  days  with  Mar  owe  had  I  seen  a  young 
woman  who  had  come  on  the  stage  with  so  many  fine 
natural  qualities,  and  before  she  opened  in  the  part  of 
Bonita  I  told  La  Shelle  that  she  would  be  a  star  in  a  short 
while,  and  it  would  be  wise  to  make  an  immediate  ar- 
rangement with  her.  He  agreed  with  me;  but,  deferring 
his  negotiations  until  after  the  New  York  opening  of  the 
company,  found  that  Eleanor  Robson  was  then  under 
a  starring  contract  with  Mr.  George  Tyler.  New  York 
will  remember  its  artistic  disappointment  when  after  a 
few  brilliant  characterizations  Eleanor  Robson  became 
Mrs.  August  Belmont  and  society  and  charitable  enter- 
prises gained  what  the  stage  lost. 

My  little  play,  "Don't  Tell  Her  Husband,"  was  taken 
by  Stuart  Robson,  who  changed  the  title  to  "The  Med- 
dler," and  played  it  for  two  years.  The  increased  friend- 
ship between  Hale,  Serrano,  and  myself  at  the  poker  table 
in  the  Crane  car,  together  with  our  transatlantic  trip, 
deepened  my  wish  to  have  them  in  the  "Arizona"  com- 
pany, where  their  grip  upon  the  public  was  the  result 
of  their  own  merits. 

There  is  a  series  of  happenings  in  the  relationship  of 
those  two  friends  that  carries  an  interesting  psychological 
study.  After  a  time  in  the  original  company  Hale  quit 
the  German-character  part  and  played  the  heavy  man 
opposite  Serrano,  now  advanced  to  hero.  Near  the  end 
of  the  third  act  it  was  Serrano's  business  to  walk  over  to 
Hale,  who  stood  well  down  left,  and  after  looking  him  in 
the  eye  a  minute  slap  him  over  the  side  of  the  face  with 
a  sombrero;  a  trick  slap  with  the  force  of  the  blow  falling 
more  on  Hale's  shoulder  than  upon  his  face.  In  one  of 


the  early  performances,  however,  a  leather  band  around 
the  sombrero  had  struck  Hale's  face  and  hurt  him  slightly, 
but  enough  to  make  him  apprehensive  thereafter;  and 
one  day  on  the  street  he  fell  unconscious.  The  doctor 
traced  his  difficulty  to  this  fear  of  the  blow.  Hale  left 
the  engagement  and  returned  to  his  earlier  work  as  etcher 
and  illustrator.  He  travelled  with  his  talented  wife, 
Louise  Closser,  for  some  time  in  Europe,  came  back  to 
the  theatre,  and  played  several  parts  with  distinction. 
After  a  total  interval  of  some  ten  years  he  was  playing 
in  my  piece,  "As  a  Man  Thinks,"  in  which  John  Mason 
was  the  star  and  Vincent  Serrano  was  the  hero. 

On  our  opening  night  in  Hartford,  near  the  end  of  the 
third  act,  Hale  forgot  his  lines  and  couldn't  take  them 
from  the  prompter.  He  was  all  right  at  the  next  day's 
rehearsal.  But  again  at  night  the  same  lapse  occurred. 
He  was  a  conscientious  artist,  and  in  great  depression 
came  to  me  and  wanted  to  surrender  his  part.  I  asked 
him  to  try  another  performance  and  let  me  look  at  it 
from  the  front.  For  the  third  time  his  lines  escaped  him. 
When  the  play  was  over  Hale  was  positive  in  his  decision 
to  quit.  I  said: 

"Walter,  I  think  the  trouble  is  that  it  is  Serrano  who 
comes  down  left  and  confronts  you.  Your  position  on 
the  stage  and  your  personal  relations  in  the  story  are 
just  what  they  were  in  that  old  cowboy  play;  but  if  you 
will  remember  that  Serrano  doesn't  wear  a  sombrero 
and  is  not  going  to  strike  you  with  one,  and  that  you 
are  playing  Mr.  De  Lota  in  a  parlor  story  of  New  York, 
the  difficulty  will  disappear." 

He  played  perfectly  that  night  and  was  never  troubled 
in  that  manner  again. 

Since  these  papers   began  to  appear  in  serial  form 


many  men  have  written  me  and  more  have  spoken  to 
me  concerning  the  wonderful  memory  that  I  must  have 
— "Or  have  you  kept  records  of  all  that?" 

I  have  not  kept  records  and  I  have  not  more  than  the 
ordinary  memory.  But  here  are  two  sides  of  that  in- 
teresting subject:  In  the  previous  chapter  I  have  written 
of  Mr.  Robert  Bruce  bringing  me  some  information  that 
I  needed  about  Henry  C.  Hooker,  the  Arizona  ranch- 
man. Until  Mr.  Bruce  came  in  at  that  opportune  mo- 
ment I  had  never  seen  him. 

Now  on  the  other  side:  I  wished  to  write  about  a 
cornet-player  and  his  performance  on  a  memorable  night 
in  1901.  It  would  be  all  right  to  refer  to  him  imperson- 
ally, but  my  effort  to  get  his  name  is  a  fair  example  of 
rr.uch  of  the  work  that  has  been  incident  to  all  that  I 
have  written.  This  cornetist  was  in  a  company  support- 
ing Mr.  Peter  Dailey  in  a  musical  play  called  "Cham- 
pagne Charlie,"  which  I  wrote  for  him  and  which  was 
produced  late  in  August  in  that  year.  Last  October, 
1921,  I  tried  to  get  Dailey's  manager,  Mr.  Frank  McKee. 
He  was  out  of  the  city,  address  unknown.  After  two  later 
attempts  to  locate  him,  the  question  of  the  cornetist 
came  up  again  just  now  as  I  reached  the  end  of  this  chap- 

I  stopped  dictation  and  for  thirty  minutes  my  secre- 
tary and  I  pursued  the  following  process:  Walter  Jordan, 
a  play  agent  and  sometime  friend  of  McKee,  is  called; 
he  gives  McKee's  residence;  information  gives  his  tele- 
phone; we  talk  to  McKee;  he  remembers  the  cornetist 
very  well,  but  the  enterprise  was  twenty  years  ago  and 
he  forgets  his  name.  Peter  Dailey  is  dead.  The  next 
important  member  of  the  company  is  that  excellent  come- 
dian Eddie  Garvey;  Garvey  would  probably  remember 


the  musician.  We  try  to  locate  Garvey.  Miss  Hum- 
bert, of  the  Packard  Theatrical  Agency,  thinks  Garvey 
is  with  Charlotte  Greenwood's  company  on  the  road 
under  the  management  of  Oliver  Morosco.  Morosco's 
office  is  called  in  order  to  locate  the  company.  They  tell 
us  that  Garvey  left  the  company  two  or  three  weeks 
ago;  they  haven't  his  address,  but  the  engagement  was 
made  through  an  agent  named  Leslie  Morosco. 

Leslie  Morosco,  when  called,  knows  Mr.  Garvey's 
address  and  his  telephone  number,  but  is  reluctant  to 
give  them  to  persons  inquiring  over  the  phone.  Our 
identity  is  established,  the  nature  of  the  business  ex- 
plained, and  the  Saturday  Evening  Post  referred  to;  then 
Garvey's  number  is  given;  fortunately  Garvey  is  at 
home;  he  remembers  the  name  of  the  cornetist  and  the 
man  himself  very  well.  He  says  that  the  cornetist  was 
William  Disston,  of  Philadelphia,  where  his  father  was 
a  skilled  maker  of  cornets.  William  Disston  and  Garvey 
were  together  in  many  of  the  Charles  Hoyt  productions, 
notably  "The  Milk  White  Flag,"  and  Disston's  singular 
skill  as  a  cornetist,  almost  equalling  that  of  the  famous 
Jules  Levy,  got  him  his  engagement  along  with  Garvey 
in  the  Peter  Dailey  company  referred  to  in  which  he  was 
featured  on  the  programme  and  gave  a  cornet  solo.  Gar- 
vey remembers  the  night  in  question,  although  he  doesn't 
remember  the  exact  date.  He  and  Disston  left  the  theatre 
together.  Disston  was  a  convivial  person,  and  the  com- 
pany being  that  week  in  Providence,  Rhode  Island,  Diss- 
ton and  Garvey  went  to  the  rooms  of  the  Musicians' 
Union,  where  there  were  some  beer  and  songs  and  music 
until  a  late  hour.  They  then  started  to  go  home,  but 
in  order  to  do  so  were  obliged  to  pass  the  office  of  the 
Providence  Journal.  In  front  of  this  building  about  a 


thousand  men  were  gathered,  watching  the  bulletins  in 
the  windows.  As  the  last  one  appeared  Disston  took 
his  cornet  from  its  case. 

My  own  relation  to  that  occasion  was  this:  I  was  in 
bed  in  the  stately  old  Narragansett  Hotel.  The  night 
was  warm.  Two  windows  of  the  room  were  open.  At 
about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning  I  was  wakened  by 
the  sound  of  the  cornet.  It  came  over  the  night  air,  carry- 
ing the  strains  of  that  impressive  old  hymn,  "Nearer, 
My  God,  to  Thee."  It  took  a  moment  to  recognize  this, 
and  then  the  expertness  of  the  playing  convinced  me  that 
the  player  was  Disston.  I  got  out  of  bed  and  leaned 
on  the  window-sill.  As  the  cornet  began  a  repetition  of 
the  hymn  it  was  joined  by  a  male  chorus  of  some  thou- 
sand voices,  and  there  plainly  came  the  words:  "E'en 
though  it  be  a  cross  that  raiseth  me."  I  knew  then  that 
President  William  McKinley,  who  had  Iain  wounded  for 
a  week  in  Buffalo,  was  dead.  I  was  surprised  as  I  listened 
to  the  finish  of  the  hymn  to  find  that  my  cheeks  were 
wet  with  tears.  "Nearer,  My  God,  to  Thee"  had  been 
a  favorite  hymn  with  my  grandmother.  My  mind  went 
back  to  her  and  the  death  of  President  Lincoln — to  the 
tears,  the  solemnity  of  that  tragic  time — and,  in  the  mid- 
dle distance,  Garfield. 

Walter  Wellman,  famous  journalist,  wrote  of  that 
night  in  Buffalo,  where  in  the  Milburn  residence  President 
McKinley  died:  "In  his  last  period  of  consciousness 
.  .  .  the  surgeons  bent  down  to  hear  his  words.  He 
chanted  the  first  lines  of  his  favorite  hymn,  '  Nearer, 
My  God,  to  Thee/  A  little  later  he  spoke  again;  Doc- 
tor Mann  wrote  the  words  down  at  the  bedside,  and  the 
last  conscious  utterance  of  William  McKinley  was: 

'Good-by,  all;  good-by.    It  is  God's  way.    His  will 
be  done.' 


"The  President  soon  afterward  lapsed  into  uncon- 
sciousness, and  did  not  rally  again.  The  end  came  at 
2. 15  A.  M.,  Saturday,  September  14." 

Three  Presidents  of  the  United  States  had  been  killed 
by  madmen.  The  reverberations  of  those  three  shots  I 


I  have  written  of  a  visit  to  and  sojourn  in  Arizona  in 
order  to  get  material  for  the  play  of  that  name.  I  wrote 
earlier  of  going  back  to  Missouri,  where  I  was  perfectly 
familiar  with  the  country,  in  order  to  refresh  my  ideas 
of  its  local  color.  In  my  opinion  it  would  be  difficult 
to  overstate  the  value  of  this  plan  of  getting  information 
at  first  hand.  It  was  Fred  Remington's  way  of  keeping 
himself  fresh  on  his  own  subjects  both  for  writing  and 
illustrating.  Richard  Harding  Davis  made  it  his  prac- 
tice, visiting  nearly  every  country  in  the  temperate  zone 
in  his  search  for  his  varied  and  attractive  material.  So 
when  Charles  Frohman,  frankly  regretting  his  failure  to 
produce  "Arizona,"  wanted  something  with  similar  color 
I  was  glad  to  go  to  Colorado  to  look  for  it. 

The  result  of  that  trip  is  not  very  heartening  to  write 
about.  I  got  a  play  that  was  heavy  and  overcumbered 
with  material  and  dramatic  machinery.  It  opened  with 
a  string  of  burros  bringing  ore  down  a  mountain  trail 
as  I  had  seen  them  do  it  in  New  Mexico.  It  seemed  a 
fine  touch  on  paper  and  very  excellent  at  rehearsals, 
but  when  the  burros  got  temperamental  on  our  first  night 
and  drew  attention  from  the  dialogue  they  weren't  so 
valuable.  The  greatest  fault  with  the  play  was  its  scat- 
tered interest.  I  fancy  that  some  time  or  other  every 
playwright  fails  because  of  the  very  things  that  he  has 
considered  his  strength;  that  is,  fails  from  an  excessive 
use  of  such  things.  About  1902  that  facile  and  versatile 



dramatist,  Mr.  Clyde  Fitch,  produced  a  play  called  "Her 
OwrijWay,"  in  which  Maxine  Elliott  was  the  heroine,  but 
in  which  a  little  hairdresser  girl  who  talked  East  Side 
slang  made  the  most  pronounced  impression. 

Nothing  had  been  easier  for  Fitch  than  to  write  this 
character  bit,  and  when  he  found  it  was  so  acceptable 
he  said:  "Well,  if  you  like  that  kind  of  thing  I'll  give  you 
twenty  such  characters,"  and  immediately  wrote  a  play 
in  which  he  did.  This  was  a  piece  called  "Glad  of  It," 
in  which  he  multiplied  his  East  Side  hairdresser  till  she 
was  a  blemish. 

I  had  been  successful  with  "Alabama,"  with  "In  Miz- 
zoura,"  and  with  "Arizona"  in  carrying  forward  a  simul- 
taneous interest  in  two  or  three  different  couples,  being 
careful,  of  course,  to  have  them  contribute  to  what  was 
the  climax  of  each  story.  In  "  Colorado  "  I  had  practi- 
cally five  such  interests,  and  though  the  material  in  the 
main  was  good,  it  failed  to  focus. 

The  gathering  of  this  material,  however,  may  have 
an  interest.  My  intention  had  been  to  write  a  play  about 
the  Colorado  mines.  To  get  the  material  I  had  meant 
to  go  to  work  in  one  of  them.  I  didn't  believe  that  any 
practical  miner  would  mistake  me  for  an  expert.  I 
planned  to  get  something  in  a  clerical  way  on  the  sur- 
face of  one  of  the  properties  or  in  the  sheds.  To  do  this 
I  went,  by  the  advice  of  my  Rocky  Mountain  friend, 
John  C.  Montgomery,  to  the  law  offices  of  ex-Governor 
Charles  Thomas  and  Harry  Lee.  Harry  Lee,  who  was 
a  man  of  about  my  own  age,  advised  against  my  project. 
There  had  just  been  a  strike  in  the  mines,  and  there  were 
still  a  number  of  secret-service  men  working  under  vari- 
ous guises. 

"In  the  way  you  propose,"  Lee  said,  "you  won't  be 


in  any  danger,  but  the  men  will  promptly  put  you  down 
as  a  private  detective,  and  though  they  wouldn't  molest 
you,  you  would  never  get  near  them,  and  the  intimate 
stuff  you  are  trying  for  would  elude  you." 

There  was  an  experienced,  practical  miner,  tough  man 
and  strike  leader,  on  their  books  by  the  name  of  Phil 
Flynn.  He  was  a  good  deal  of  a  free-lance,  constantly 
moving  about  on  new  prospects.  If  they  could  locate 
Flynn  and  put  me  under  his  care  I'd  be  in  the  way  of 
getting  the  desired  information.  A  long-distance  tele- 
phone caught  Flynn  at  Colorado  City  on  his  way  to  a 
copper  district  in  Northern  New  Mexico.  He  waited 
over  a  train  for  my  coming.  I  had  had  a  rather  romantic 
account  given  me  of  Flynn  before  joining  him.  Accord- 
ing to  the  men  in  Lee's  office  he  had  been  educated  for 
the  priesthood  and  had  abandoned  it.  At  any  rate,  he 
had  a  fashion  of  quoting  Latin.  To  my  mind,  after  a 
few  minutes  with  him,  he  suggested  neither  the  priest 
nor  the  scholar,  but  rather  the  railroad  foreman.  He 
already  knew  my  business  from  his  long-distance  tele- 
phone talk,  and  as  we  went  along  on  the  railroad  gath- 
ered my  purpose  in  detail.  It  was  decided  that  I  was 
not  to  pose  as  a  practical  miner  but  as  a  mine-owner  in- 
vesting in  properties.  He  gave  me  a  few  stock  phrases 
that  would  partly  carry  out  this  impression,  and  when 
in  doubt  I  was  to  be  silent.  We  stopped  at  a  junction 
called  Trinidad,  where  the  yard  foreman  knew  Flynn. 
Flynn  told  him  I  was  from  Leadville.  The  foreman  asked 
how  things  were  up  there.  I  could  answer  only  in  the 
general  way  that  they  were  pretty  good,  but  a  main  dif- 
ficulty was  the  lack  of  cars.  He  knew  this,  and  was  try- 
ing to  forward  empties. 

"Where  did  you  get  that  car  stuff?"  Flynn  said  as 


our  own  train  moved  on.  I  told  him  I  had  seen  it  in  the 
morning  paper. 

"Well,  you'll  do,  Tom." 

In  the  evening  we  left  our  railroad  at  a  town  called 
Springer,  from  which  we  had  a  few  miles'  ride  in  a  stage 
to  the  driver's  home,  where  we  passed  the  night.  Next 
morning  we  started  with  a  two-horse  wagon  for  the  foot 
of  the  Little  Cimarron — pronounced  Simmaroon.  A 
prospector  was  camped  there  with  a  tent  and  a  few  cattle. 
Flynn  made  his  acquaintance  and  left  our  wagon  in  his 
care.  We  went  up  the  trail  on  horseback.  At  the  end 
of  the  afternoon  we  had  got  as  far  as  the  animals  could 
comfortably  go.  They  were  headed  down  the  trail  again 
and  started  with  a  spank.  Flynn  explained  that  there 
wasn't  any  way  that  they  could  get  lost.  They  had  to 
follow  the  little  stream  by  which  ran  our  trail.  No 
matter  how  long  it  took  them,  they  would  bring  up  at 
the  camper's  outfit  where  the  wagon  was. 

The  kit  I  started  with  we  had  left  at  the  stage-driver's 
home  in  the  valley,  and  each  carried  only  a  blanket,  be- 
sides such  toilet  articles  as  one  could  put  in  the  pockets 
of  his  reefer.  Leaving  Colorado  City,  Flynn  had  asked 
me  if  I  had  a  gun.  I  showed  him  a  .38  hammerless  which 
he  thought  would  do.  Before  reaching  the  mining-camp 
he  suggested  shifting  it  to  the  right-hand  pocket  of  my 
reefer  instead  of  the  hip,  where  I  had  it.  He  didn't  think 
there  would  be  any  trouble,  but  though  my  pose  was 
buying  certain  copper  mines,  he  was  really  going  back 
to  recover  these  claims,  which  he  had  learned  had  been 
jumped  by  the  employees  of  the  big  mining  company 
operating  in  that  district.  I  learned  this  with  a  creepy 
feeling  in  certain  peripheral  nerves,  but  have  reason  to 
think  it  was  not  betrayed. 


The  camp  which  was  our  destination  consisted  of  a 
bunk-house  and  a  cook-house,  some  fifty  feet  apart,  both 
log  cabins.  The  bunk-house  had  accommodations,  such 
as  they  were,  for  eight  men.  Its  interior  was  divided  by 
a  little  gangway,  say  three  feet  wide,  into  two  parts,  each 
about  nine  by  six.  Each  part  contained  two  rough  sap- 
ling bunks,  one  above  the  other,  each  bunk  a  little  larger 
than  the  ordinary  double  bed,  and  all  with  bedding  of 
pine  boughs.  On  these  boughs  the  miners  at  night  lay 
rolled  up  in  their  army  blankets,  two  to  a  bunk. 

In  the  cook-house,  besides  a  stove,  a  shelf  for  dishes 
and  utensils,  there  was  a  wooden  table  about  ten  feet 
long,  flanked  on  each  side  by  a  rough  wooden  bench. 
In  one  corner  of  this  room  were  two  single  bunks,  one 
over  the  other,  for  the  cook  and  his  helper.  There  was 
no  accommodation  in  sight  for  Flynn  and  me,  and  when 
the  miners  came  in  from  their  work,  which  they  did  about 
half  an  hour  after  our  arrival,  there  was  no  welcome. 
One  of  the  party  was  a  romantic-looking  boy  in  his  early 
twenties,  with  corduroy  suit  and  camping  boots,  as  pic- 
turesque a  figure  as  one  now  sees  in  the  movies.  There 
was  one  other  American,  a  third  miner  apparently  of 
Latin  origin,  and  five  Irishmen.  The  boy  in  corduroys 
was  good-natured  and  genial.  He  seemed  to  be  operat- 
ing for  himself.  The  other  men  worked  for  the  com- 
pany that  owned  the  buildings,  the  adjacent  territory, 
and  the  few  burros  that  carried  the  ore  down  the  trail. 
We  were  at  a  considerable  elevation. 

The  place  grew  suddenly  cold  at  nightfall,  although 
the  days  were  warm.  After  supper  the  men  smoked 
plug  tobacco  and  played  cards.  The  cook  let  his  fire  go 
out  in  order  to  get  rid  of  them.  When  they  got  too  cold 
they  went  to  bed  in  the  bunk-house.  The  cook  said  that 


Flynn  and  I  couldn't  stay  in  the  cook-house.  Flynn  told 
him  he  was  wrong  about  that;  his  friend  Thomas  would 
sleep  on  the  table;  himself  he  was  going  to  stretch  out 
on  one  of  the  benches  and  some  boxes  that  he  put  along- 

Without  removing  boots  or  any  garments,  with  a  folded 
gunny-sack  for  a  pillow,  and  covered  by  the  blanket,  I 
slept  four  nights  on  the  kitchen-table.  The  foreman  of 
the  outfit  would  have  had  authority  to  oust  us,  but  he 
made  no  attempt  to  exert  it.  The  first  morning,  after  a 
solemn  breakfast,  during  which  nobody  but  the  boy  in 
corduroy  spoke  to  us,  Flynn  and  I  went  a  mile  down  the 
trail  to  borrow  a  couple  of  picks.  The  company  had 
plenty  in  their  blacksmith  shop,  but  refused  to  lend  them. 
The  blacksmith,  when  alone,  seemed  a  little  more  com- 
municative and  more  willing  to  be  friendly  with  Flynn. 

When,  after  getting  our  picks  and  an  hour's  walk,  we 
got  to  the  ground  where  Flynn  had  located  we  found  that 
his  identifying  stakes  and  signs  had  been  replaced  by 
newer  claimants.  These  evidences  Flynn  promptly  de- 
stroyed, and  set  up  again  stakes  with  his  own  name  on 
them.  This  done,  we  put  in  the  rest  of  our  time  digging 
what  in  mining  parlance  was  called  an  assessment.  This 
is  the  removal  of  enough  cubic  material  to  meet  the  re- 
quirement of  the  mining  laws,  and  we  were  just  within 
the  expiration  of  the  time-limit  to  do  it. 

We  were  in  a  singular  social  atmosphere  and  set  of 
circumstances.  The  cooks  turned  us  out  the  same  rough 
meals  that  they  provided  the  company  miners,  without 
any  discussion  as  to  the  propriety  of  doing  so.  The 
miners  ignored  us  during  the  meals,  although  Phil  swore 
roundly  at  the  unidentified  thieves  who  had  tried  to  steal 
his  claims.  The  cook  and  his  helper  were  rather  poor 


stuff,  and  even  if  they  had  been  friendly,  which  they 
were  not,  Flynn  and  I  and  the  boy  in  corduroys,  who 
diplomatically  affected  an  ignorance,  all  together  would 
have  been  in  the  minority  against  the  remaining  mem- 
bers of  the  group. 

Alone  each  day  on  the  claims,  Flynn  said  he  didn't 
think  any  of  the  men  had  nerve  enough  to  begin  shoot- 
ing, and  in  his  opinion  the  claim-jumping  had  been  in- 
spired by  the  company,  and  the  men  were  not  to  get 
much  out  of  it,  anyway;  so  that  his  fears,  if  he  had  any, 
were  considerably  less  than  my  own,  which  were  numer- 
ous. On  the  fourth  morning  after  our  arrival  we  started 
on  foot  down  the  trail,  and  to  my  eyes  the  landscape 
grew  more  beautiful  with  every  rod  we  covered.  We 
found  our  horses  and  wagon  with  the  camping  outfit  in 
the  little  valley,  where  we  arrived  in  the  afternoon.  Late 
that  night  we  were  again  in  the  stage-driver's  highly 
civilized  quarters,  which  when  quitting  I  had  thought 
so  rude. 

On  the  way  north  for  Cripple  Creek  we  stopped  off  at 
the  little  town,  at  that  time  the  central  office  of  the  Max- 
well Land  Grant,  where  Flynn  had  to  make  certification 
of  his  assessment  work,  and  where  much  to  my  astonish- 
ment he  filed  one  of  his  claims  as  the  Little  Luke,  naming 
it  after  my  boy  and  turning  over  to  me  the  certificate  of 
ownership.  The  adjoining  property  belonging  to  the  big 
copper  company  was  paying  heavily,  and  Phil  hoped 
there  might  be  a  fortune  in  this  claim.  To  hold  it  re- 
quired an  occasional  return  to  the  property  and  some 
work  with  the  pick  in  that  unfriendly  altitude  of  the 
foe  and  the  stranger.  So,  though  I  still  have  the  certif- 
icate, the  claim  of  the  Little  Luke  is  like  the  grave  of 
Sir  John  Moore. 


At  Cripple  Creek  I  met  interesting  characters  and 
learned  much  about  Flynn.  There  had  been  a  fire  a 
couple  of  years  before — while  Flynn  was  absent — that 
swept  the  side  hills  and  left  men,  women,  and  children 
without  shelter.  Flynn  returned  when  the  conflagration 
was  over,  and  to  his  astonishment  his  little  cabin  was 
the  only  one  left  in  that  district. 

He  looked  over  the  surrounding  misery  a  moment  and 
quietly  went  over  to  his  own  cabin  and  set  it  on  fire. 
When  he  rejoined  the  sufferers  he  said,  "Now  I'm  with 


As  we  went  through  the  little  mining  city  on  that  first 
night  of  our  visit  we  gradually  accumulated  a  crowd  of 
admirers.  I  was  in  a  fair  way  to  make  a  mistake  about 
Flynn's  popularity  until  I  discovered  that  the  interest 
was  in  me.  I  got  Flynn  in  a  corner  and  made  him  con- 
fess. Some  one  had  asked  the  name  of  his  companion. 
As  a  great  secret  he  had  whispered,  "Jim  Jeffries."  Some 
two  years  before  Jeffries  had  won  the  championship  from 
Bob  Fitzsimmons,  had  later  won  from  Sharkey,  and  some 
months  preceding  the  time  of  which  I  write  had  knocked 
out  James  J.  Corbett.  On  the  sidewalks  and  in  the  bar- 
rooms, much  to  Flynn's  amusement,  men  jostled  us  a 
little  unpleasantly.  I  feared  that  as  enthusiasm  mounted 
some  local  celebrity  would  take  a  wallop  at  me  in  the 
belief  that  he  was  measuring  his  capacity  against  the 
world  champion.  Under  a  pretense  of  important  letters 
I  got  back  to  our  hotel. 

The  stuff  I  got  from  Cripple  Creek  was  principally 
character  studies.  By  the  time  we  reached  Leadville, 
Flynn  was  thoroughly  enjoying  the  fiction  in  which  we 
were  mutually  interested.  In  that  city  I  was  introduced 
to  a  man  anxious  to  get  rid  of  a  gold  mine.  It  became 


necessary  to  inspect  ft,  and  I  wanted  the  information 
that  such  an  inspection  would  give.  To  reach  its  most 
significant  level  we  had  to  make  a  descent  of  eight  hun- 
dred feet  in  the  shaft.  Our  vehicle  was  what  was  called 
a  bucket.  This  was  a  vessel  made  of  boiler  iron,  about 
four  feet  high,  with  a  diameter  of  two  feet  at  its  rim, 
used  for  lifting  ore.  It  was  held  by  a  strong  iron  bale 
suspended  by  a  steel  cable.  The  rim  of  this  bucket 
stopped  at  the  ground  level.  We  three  men,  the  mine 
foreman,  Flynn,  and  myself,  took  hold  of  the  steel  cable 
and  stepped  on  the  rim,  distributing  our  weight  so  that 
the  thing  rode  level.  Upon  a  signal  to  the  engineer  the 
bucket  began  to  descend.  The  shaft  through  which  we 
were  going  was  about  four  feet  square.  From  one  hun- 
dred feet  down  its  opening,  as  one  looked  up,  seemed 
about  the  size  of  a  window-pane.  When  we  stopped  at 
eight  hundred  feet  it  was  a  pinhole  in  a  sheet  of  black 
paper.  Our  illumination  was  the  three  candles  that  we 
carried,  each  set  in  a  miner's  candlestick,  which  was 
somewhat  like  an  ornamental  skewer  or  steel  dagger 
holding  a  candle  at  right  angles,  and  devised  to  scrape 
dirt  out  of  crevices  or  a  candle-holder  to  stick  point  first 
into  a  wall.  The  alley  through  which  we  travelled  was 
about  as  wide  as  a  private  hallway  in  a  cheap  flat,  and 
not  high  enough  to  permit  of  standing  erect. 

One  trouble  with  this  particular  gold  mine  was  that 
some  two  hundred  feet  along  this  drift  the  roof  had  caved 
in.  The  owners  had  dug  through  this  heap  a  kind  of 
rat  hole  big  enough  to  permit  the  passage  of  a  man's 
body,  if  he  got  flat  on  his  stomach  and  pulled  himself 
along  like  a  lizard.  The  foreman  went  first;  urged  by 
Flynn,  I  followed,  second.  There  was  no  retreat  except 
confession,  and  the  dark  shaft  from  which  we  had  just 


escaped.  After  a  cold  crawl  of  twelve  or  fifteen  feet  we 
emerged  into  the  unobstructed  gallery  again.  There  was 
no  guaranty  that  the  material  through  which  we  crawled 
wouldn't  shift  once  more  and  imprison  us,  or  even  catch 
us  in  transit.  But  it  didn't,  and  after  a  terrifying  hour 
we  were  again  on  the  surface  in  God's  free  air.  I  didn't 
buy  the  gold  mine;  the  best  I  could  do  was  to  take  the 
matter  under  advisement.  But  I  was  so  overloaded  with 
sensations  that  when  1  came  to  write  my  play  1  had  my 
villain  and  his  guilty  partner  eight  hundred  feet  under 
ground,  in  a  cage  on  a  cable  controlled  by  the  hero,  who 
was  on  the  surface  with  the  damning  evidence  in  his 

When  we  got  back  to  Denver,  Flynn  refused  to  leave 
me  until  I  had  been  given  safely  into  the  hands  of  our 
friend,  Harry  Lee.  As  he  said  good-by  for  the  time  being 
he  turned  to  Lee: 

"What  I  like  about  your  friend  Tom  here  is  we  took 
this  two  weeks'  trip  together,  and  we  were  in  some  tough 
places.  But  he  never  said  once,  'When  are  we  going  to 
get  out  of  here?'  or  'How  long  does  this  last?'  He's  all 

I  confessed  to  Lee  that  Fd  often  thought  those  ques- 
tions, but  had  refrained  from  asking  them  because  they 
would  in  nowise  hasten  our  departure  or  terminate 
our  difficulties;  and,  furthermore,  I  didn't  want  Phil 
Flynn  to  think  I  was  a  quitter,  which  in  my  heart  I 

Flynn  was  much  interested  in  stories  of  the  theatre, 
and  also  the  things  about  Fred  Remington,  and  a  year 
later  showed  up  unexpectedly,  but  not  without  welcome, 
at  New  Rochelle. 

Remington  thought  him  a  veritable  nugget,  and  spent 


all  the  time  with  him  he  could  in  Flynn's  two  or  three 
days  in  the  East. 

The  twenty  years  that  have  gone  by  have  probably 
retired  Phil  from  very  active  service,  but  there  are  hun- 
dreds in  Colorado,  Arizona,  and  New  Mexico  who  remem- 
ber him  and  I  hope  still  meet  him. 

Ex-Governor  Charles  Thomas'  law  partner,  Harry  Lee, 
now  dead,  was  one  of  the  most  gifted  men  of  the  Middle 
West.  I  will  quote  two  examples  of  his  wit  if  I  can  set 
the  stage  for  them  without  too  much  delay:  A  dinner 
to  me  in  the  Denver  Club  at  which  were  toastmaster 
and  speeches  and  one  orator,  who,  I  had  been  led  to  be- 
lieve, was  the  most  eloquent  in  the  State.  When  this 
speaker  began  to  talk  he  made  three  separate  starts  at 
his  subject.  His  friends  regretted  the  indulgence  that 
left  him  a  little  scattered,  and  as  for  the  third  time  he 
said,  "Fremont  came  through  here  in  '48,"  Harry  Lee 
remarked,  "The  record's  been  lowered  since  then."  The 
orator  joined  in  the  laugh,  and  under  its  cover  gave 
way  to  the  next  speaker.  On  one  of  Lee's  visits  to  New 
York  a  club  tete-a-tete  with  Lackaye  was  interrupted 
by  an  English  actor,  who  like  the  oratorical  friend  at 
Denver  was  not  in  full  possession  of  his  faculties.  Each 
attempt  to  score  off  Lackaye  proved  more  of  a  cue  than 
a  hit.  His  continued  failure  and  the  triumph  of  Lackaye 
growing  a  little  monotonous,  Lee  interposed: 

"I  don't  know  what  the  game  laws  are  in  New  York, 
Mr.  Lackaye,  but  in  Colorado  it's  considered  very  un- 
sportsmanlike to  shoot  mackerel  in  a  barrel." 

"Mackerel  in  a  barrel"  is  now  a  Lambs  Club  stencil. 

Human  nature  is  so  constituted  that  the  wish  to  escape 
from  boredom  is  one  of  its  strongest  motives.  Nearly 
every  playwright  is  driven  into  new  kinds  of  endeavor 


by  his  wish  for  change.  Bronson  Howard,  after  his  come- 
dies of  "Saratoga'*  and  "Green  Room  Fun,"  wrote 
"The  Banker's  Daughter,"  "Young  Mrs.  Winthrop," 
and  after  another  comedy,  "The  Henrietta,"  returned  to 
serious  work  in  "Shenandoah"  and  "Aristocracy."  Gil- 
lette wrote  his  comedies,  "The  Professor,"  "The  Legal 
Wreck,"  then  his  serious  play,  "Held  by  the  Enemy," 
and,  after  a  string  of  comedies  which  included  "Mr.  Wil- 
kinson's Widows,"  "Too  Much  Johnson,"  and  "Because 
She  Loved  Him  So,"  returned  to  serious  work  in  "Secret 
Service"  and  "Sherlock  Holmes."  Henry  Arthur  Jones 
had  even  a  wider  range  through  outright  melodrama  and 
farce,  ranging  from  "The  Silver  King"  to  "Whitewashing 
of  Julia."  Clyde  Fitch,  after  his  lighter  social  portraiture, 
wrote  his  big  play,  "The  City."  One  will  not  be  accused 
of  claiming  a  professional  kinship  to  these  masters  if  like 
them  he  confesses  the  human  side  which  craves  variety. 
My  own  attempts  ranged  all  the  way  from  melodrama  to 
musical  comedies  and  broad  farce.  After  the  experience 
with  "Colorado,"  the  reaction  was  naturally  to  the 
lighter  moods. 

Before  "Colorado"  was  produced,  and  while  it  was  in 
rehearsals,  I  went  one  night  to  the  Empire  Theatre  to 
see  H.  V.  Esmond's  comedy,  "The  Wilderness."  That 
excellent  company  of  Charles  Frohman's  contained  such 
actors,  since  stars,  as  Margaret  Anglin,  William  Courte- 
nay,  Charles  Richman,  Mrs.  Whiffen,  Margaret  Dale, 
and  in  a  quite  minor  role,  Lawrence  D'Orsay.  My  wife 
and  I  were  watching  the  play  from  a  box,  and  when  D'Or- 
say left  the  stage  I  noticed  a  movement  in  the  parquet 
like  a  receding  wave  as  the  audience  settled  back  in  their 
seats.  They  had  moved  forward  in  their  attention  in 
less  concerted  action;  but  as  they  heard  D'Orsay  ap- 


preaching  for  his  second  scene  their  interest  was  imme- 
diate and  the  forward  inclination  was  in  unison.  I  called 
my  wife's  attention  to  the  fact,  and  when  D'Orsay  came 
on  for  the  third  time  we  both  noticed  the  peculiar  re- 
sponse. I  felt  that  the  player  so  welcome  in  such  neg- 
ligible material  as  his  slight  role  offered  was  of  stellar 

I  knew  D'Orsay  as  an  actor  who  had  attracted  atten- 
tion in  Captain  Marshall's  play,  "The  Royal  Family," 
and  as  an  interesting  personal  figure  about  the  clubs. 
To  describe  him  in  a  line,  one  would  have  to  use  the 
phrase  so  often  applied  to  him  by  his  critics:  "The  Ouida 
type  of  heavy  guardsman."  His  expression  is  the  domi- 
nant one  of  distinguished,  opaque,  English  toleration, 
alternated  with  bland  astonishment,  not  unmixed  with 
good  nature,  but  always  self-confident,  self-sufficient,  and 
aristocratic.  I  began  thinking  about  him  as  the  central 
figure  for  a  comedy  that  I  had  agreed  to  write  for  Mr. 

On  the  American  stage,  to  get  the  greatest  value  from 
such  a  man  as  a  kind  of  comic-paper  Englishman  of  breed- 
ing, it  was  imperative  to  surround  him  with  Americans 
and  give  him  an  American  background.  In  doing  this 
I  naturally  saw  the  Americans  amused  with  his  speech 
and  manner  as  I  had  seen  them  amused  by  him  in  private 
life;  but  as  I  thought  more  intimately  of  him  I  remem- 
bered that  his  funniest  moments  were  his  attempts  to 
be  ultra-American.  This  phase  seemed  only  incidentally 
valuable  until,  through  dwelling  on  it,  the  idea  came 
to  me  to  put  him  in  a  situation  where  he  would  be  seri- 
ously obliged  to  assume  it  altogether,  and  with  the  in- 
ception of  that  idea  I  had  the  bent  and  the  impelling 
factor  of  my  story.  The  construction  would  be  along 


the  line  of  establishing  an  Englishman  who  would  have 
to  pretend  to  be  an  American,  and  his  experiences  after 
he  began  to  do  so. 

If  I  were  permitted  to  say  to  a  dozen  English  and 
American  playwrights  of  to-day — Pinero,  Jones,  Gil- 
lette, Pollock,  AI  Thomas,  Forbes,  Winchell  Smith, 
Davis,  Maugham,  and  so  on,  "What  made  an  ultra- 
Englishman  in  America  pretend  to  be  an  American? 
Answer  promptly,"  they  would  reply  in  chorus,  "A 
woman."  That  is  the  dramatist's  formula,  and  it  was 
mine.  And  the  dramatists  would  be  agreed  on  the  next 
step:  Find  the  woman. 

I  felt  that  it  would  be  piquant  for  the  woman  to  be  a 
grass-widow  who  had  resumed  her  maiden  name.  Under 
the  proverb  this  would  make  her  twice  shy,  while  at  the 
same  time  it  would  remove  her  from  the  ingenue  class, 
then  being  badly  overworked.  After  considerable  study, 
which  must  not  be  minimized  by  any  ready  relation  of 
it,  I  hit  upon  the  idea  of  having  my  Englishman  mas- 
querading as  an  American  unwittingly  take  for  sufficient 
reason  the  name  of  the  girl's  divorced  husband.  This 
was  a  great  find,  as  any  one  interested  in  playmaking 
will  readily  agree.  I  decided  that  my  Englishman  should 
have  seen  and  been  attracted  by  this  young  woman  while 
she  was  travelling  on  the  Continent,  and  that  instead  of 
coming  to  America  in  search  of  an  heiress  his  trip  should 
be  one  definitely  in  search  of  the  woman. 

I  have  more  than  once  in  these  pages  spoken  of  the 
value  of  material  which  seemed  to  have  no  significance 
at  the  time  of  its  acquisition.  Here's  another  example: 
I  didn't  go  up  in  the  Ferris  wheel  at  the  Chicago  World's 
Fair  in  1893  because  I  dramatized  the  wheel  sticking 
when  my  car  should  reach  the  top  of  the  turn.  In  1899 


I  said  so  to  Maurice  Barrymore  as  we  stood  looking  at 
the  same  wheel  transported  to  and  set  up  at  EarPs  Court, 

"Well,  since  it's  been  here  the  thing  has  stuck  twice," 
said  Barry;  "one  time  for  twenty-four  hours." 

A  policeman  standing  by  took  up  the  story  and  told 
us  how  a  sailorman  climbed  to  the  cars  with  coffee  and 
sandwiches  for  the  imprisoned  patrons. 

"A  lot  of  good  stories,"  he  added,  smiling,  "fellows 
with  other  fellows'  wives,  and  all  that  sort  of  thing." 

I  expressed  my  yokel  astonishment  as  to  how  the  sailor- 
man could  have  managed  it  up  to  the  topmost  cars.  The 
bobby's  tolerant  answer  set  the  story  in  my  mind  for  all 

"Well,  you  see,  sir,  'is  mother'd  taught  'im  to  'old  on 
good  and  'ard,  and  'e  did." 

The  idea  of  putting  two  romantic  people  together  for 
twenty-four  hours  in  the  same  car  at  the  top  of  the  Ferris 
wheel  seemed  to  me  excellent  preparation  for  a  comedy. 
I  adopted  it. 

When  my  story  was  well  in  hand,  newspaper  training 
impelled  me  to  familiarize  myself  with  the  proposed 
scenes  of  it,  the  three  locations  in  the  Waldorf-Astoria 
Hotel.  I  stated  my  project  to  the  business  manager  of 
the  hotel,  and  met  a  chilling  and  discouraging  reception. 
The  house  could  lend  itself  to  no  enterprise  of  that  kind. 
So  two  days  later  I  drove  to  the  hotel  in  a  cab  with  my 
wife,  and  with  a  trunk  and  valises.  The  room  clerk  had 
us  shown  several  rooms  and  suites.  I  chose  a  suite  I 
thought  suited  to  the  earl.  The  rate,  without  meals,  was 
forty  dollars  a  day.  We  stopped  only  one  day,  but  the 
forty  dollars  put  into  my  hands  many  valuable  physical 
suggestions,  as  well  as  the  truthful  color  which  is  so  valu- 


able  in  a  well-known  district.  It  also  enabled  me  to  make 
sketches  for  the  scenic  artist  and  get  suggestions  helpful 
in  the  general  construction  of  the  story. 

After  I  had  begun  to  write  the  play  Mr.  Frohman  had 
gone  to  London.  I  cabled  him,  asking  if  I  might  have 
D'Orsay  for  the  piece. 

With  characteristic  brevity  he  answered  "Yes." 
My  comedy,  "The  Earl  of  Pawtucket,"  was  done  by 
the  time  Mr.  Frohman  came  back,  but  the  cable  for  D'Or- 
say had  meant  to  him  only  the  engagement  of  a  minor 
character.  He  was  warm  in  his  approval  of  the  play, 
but  declined  to  risk  D'Orsay  as  the  star.  I  could  see  no 
other  exponent.  Frohman  generously  released  D'Orsay. 
Two  hours  after  he  had  done  so  I  had  completed  an  ar- 
rangement with  Kirke  La  Shelle,  who  took  the  play  solely 
upon  my  description  of  it,  and  because  he  had  to  move 
promptly  in  order  to  get  time  at  the  Madison  Square 
Theatre,  where  Elizabeth  Tyree  was  starring  under  her 
own  management  in  a  play  not  very  successful.  Miss 
Tyree  was  exactly  the  type  of  girl  that  we  wanted  for  the 
heroine,  and  she  had  the  additional  attraction  of  being 
the  owner  of  this  lease  for  the  Madison  Square  Theatre. 
While  I  was  still  in  La  Shelle's  office,  La  Shelle  arranged 
for  Miss  Tyree  to  hear  the  play,  and  before  she  went  to 
the  theatre  that  night  I  had  read  it  to  her,  she  had  ac- 
cepted it,  and  after  giving  the  following  day  to  the  selec- 
tion of  the  company  we  started  on  the  second  morning 
to  rehearse  the  piece,  with  only  eleven  days  between  us 
and  the  Monday  on  which  we  proposed  to  open.  Among 
the  company  assembled  on  the  stage  of  the  Madison 
Square  Theatre  for  rehearsal  was  an  actor  of  experience 
and  ability,  Mr.  Ernest  Elton,  engaged  for  the  part  of 
the  valet.  He  and  D'Orsay  had  been  together  in  an 


English  company  some  fifteen  years  before  in  the  prov- 
inces, and  met  now  for  the  first  time  since. 

"Oh,"  said  Elton  to  D'Orsay,  "are  you  in  this  piece?" 

D'Orsay  said,  "I  hope  to  be." 

Elton  gradually  realized  he  had  been  speaking  to  the 
star.  The  reported  episode  amused  C.  F. 

We  had  one  of  our  best  first  nights,  and  next  morning 
a  fine  press;  but  our  performance  had  been  with  insuffi- 
cient preparation.  Being  familiar  with  the  script  from 
both  writing  and  rehearsing  it,  I  had  at  the  first  per- 
formance undertaken  the  office  of  prompter,  and,  in  order 
that  I  might  not  be  more  audible  than  the  players,  stood 
in  the  first  entrance  with  a  small  megaphone  through 
which  I  whispered  when  they  seemed  to  hesitate. 

In  the  second  intermission  a  prominent  critic  said,  "I 
like  everything  about  the  play  except  the  wretch  with 
the  megaphone." 

But  feeling  that  much  more  depended  upon  main- 
tenance of  our  tempo  than  absence  of  the  occasional 
note  from  the  megaphone,  I  stuck  to  the  method.  Our 
stage-manager's  time-card  registered  our  last  curtain  at 
an  hour  that  was  not  improved  upon  during  the  long  run 
of  the  piece.  D'Orsay  starred  in  the  play  under  La 
Shelle's  management  for  three  years,  and  at  the  end  of 
that  time  returned  to  Mr.  Frohman  to  star  in  another 

Altogether  I  read  or  proposed  many  plays  to  Charles 
Frohman.  Some  were  accepted,  many  were  refused, 
both  in  script  and  in  projected  story.  Charley  one  day 
said  to  me:  "It's  always  a  great  pleasure  to  refuse  a 
play  of  yours,  because  it  seems  to  get  the  thing  off  your 
mind,  and  then  we  have  an  interesting  conversation." 

For  my  own  part,  as  I  look  back,  I  can  add  that  the 


pleasure  was  not  altogether  one-sided,  because  Charley 
never  refused  a  play  or  a  story  without  proposing  some 
project  for  another  one. 

When  he  turned  back  the  script  of  "Pawtucket"  and 
released  D'Orsay  from  his  company  in  order  that  I  might 
do  the  play  elsewhere  he  said:  "As  soon  as  this  is  off  your 
mind  start  in  and  write  me  a  comedy  for  John  Drew,  and 
if  you  can  I'd  like  you  to  put  a  part  in  it  for  Lionel." 

Drew  had  recently  had  great  success  in  a  play  called 
"The  Mummy  and  the  Humming-Bird,"  in  which  his 
nephew,  Lionel  Barry  more,  had  the  part  of  an  Italian 
who  had  no  English  words  and  ventured  on  few  Italian 
phrases,  but  trusted  to  convey  most  of  his  meaning  by 
eloquent  pantomime. 


I  think  Lionel  Barrymore's  fundamental  ambition  in 
life  was  not  so  much  to  be  player  as  to  be  artist.  Every- 
thing in  black  and  white  or  on  canvas  or  in  stone  interests 
him  intensely,  and  for  two  or  three  years  he  left  the  stage 
to  devote  himself  to  the  study  of  color  in  Paris.  In  the 
theatre  his  happiness  is  delineating  character,  and  he 
goes  at  each  new  subject  with  the  technical  interest  of 
an  artist  interested  in  surfaces  and  in  the  force  behind 
them.  He  made  his  first  big  impression  in  New  York  by 
playing  an  old  Boer  general  in  a  melodrama  done  at  the 
Academy  of  Music.  The  part  was  a  prophecy  of  his 
gallery  of  old-men  portraits  made  notable  in  "The  Cop- 
perhead" and  again  in  "The  Claw."  For  his  Italian 
with  John  Drew  he  had  taken  lessons  from  a  master  in 
order  to  be  right  in  the  few  phrases  he  had  to  ejaculate, 
and  he  had  gone  into  the  Italian  colony  to  study  the 
manners  of  its  people.  It  may  be  that  C.  F/s  commis- 
sion to  put  in  a  part  also  for  Lionel  centred  my  attention 
more  than  the  obvious  commission  to  get  a  story  for 
Drew.  At  that  time,  to  see  Kid  McCoy,  champion  mid- 
dleweight fighter  of  the  world,  and  Lionel  Barrymore 
together  no  acquaintance  of  either  would  mistake  one 
for  the  other.  But  the  mistake  could  easily  be  made  if 
either  was  seen  alone  half  a  block  away.  I  began  to  think 
of  a  prize-fighter.  In  order  to  get  a  thoroughly  contrast- 
ing part,  I  chose  a  minister  of  the  gospel.  I  was  indebted 


IN   PARIS  397 

to  the  current  newspapers  for  that  idea,  as  there  was 
some  young  clergyman  at  the  time  in  the  public  eye 
through  his  advocacy  of  athletics. 

There  was  no  haste  for  the  play.  My  friend  RuckstuII 
was  settled  in  a  little  town  called  St.-Leu,  some  fifteen 
miles  out  of  Paris,  working  on  his  heroic  equestrian  statue 
of  Wade  Hampton.  Letters  from  him  carried  the  allur- 
ing post-cards  of  the  city  beautiful.  I  was  a  little  track- 
sore  with  New  York,  and  mentally  a  little  weary  with 
the  vociferous  self-approval  of  the  National  Administra- 
tion. My  boy  and  baby  girl  were  beginning  to  lisp 
French,  perhaps  wrongly,  from  their  uncertain  bonne. 
My  wife  wanted  to  pursue  her  musical  studies.  I  thought 
it  would  be  fine  to  have  an  occasional  half  day  in  some 
Parisian  atelier.  "Arizona'*  was  doing  well.  D'Orsay 
was  making  money.  Letters  of  credit  seemed  possible  I 
Paris ! 

There  are  too  many  guide-books  of  Paris,  too  many 
accurate  pictures  of  its  beauties,  too  many  interesting 
and  romantic  descriptions  of  it  from  Dumas  to  Du 
Maurier,  for  an  American  playwright  fatuously  to  at- 
tempt further  to  encumber  the  field.  But  for  a  man 
momentarily  escaping  from  America,  and  especially  from 
New  York,  there  are  some  attractions  that  have  not 
been  enumerated. 

An  editor  of  a  Western  paper,  recently  writing  of  a 
local  improvement  society  and  of  the  conditions  of  in- 
dividual premises,  says  of  one  citizen:  "There  is  no  hy- 
pocrisy about  Brown.  He  is  not  one  of  those  men  who 
beautify  their  front  yards  and  leave  the  back  yards  filled 
with  ash-cans,  rusty  tin,  and  disorder.  No  hypocrisy. 
Brown's  front  yard  is  just  as  dirty  as  the  back  one." 

New  York  has  that  kind  of  candor.    When  a  visitor 


debarks  from  a  steamship  and  comes  through  our  water- 
front streets,  whether  from  Hoboken  or  the  North  River 
side  of  Manhattan,  he  has  a  ride  through  a  front  yard 
that  prepares  him  for  all  the  dump-heaps  of  the  rear, 
broken  pavements,  dirty  gutters,  tumbled  tenements, 
ragged  hoardings;  and  then  through  our  necessitated  but 
oppressive  canyons,  where  the  sky-scrapers  shut  out  the 
sun  for  all  but  a  few  minutes  of  the  day.  And  if  he  hap- 
pens to  be  a  home-coming  American  from  Paris  he  groans 
inwardly  with  a  despair  that  he  knows  no  effort  of  his 
own  lifetime  can  lift.  Having  made  one  such  round  trip, 
I  looked  on  Paris  for  a  second  time  with  a  knowledge  of 
these  American  features  and  a  wish  to  find  the  elements 
that  made  the  great  contrast. 

One  principal  item  is  sky-line.  The  building  laws  of 
Paris  fix  the  limit  of  houses  definitely  at  six  stories,  or 
twenty  metres,  sixty-five  feet.  The  mansard  roof  is  an 
intelligent  effort  to  observe  the  letter  of  this  law  and  yet 
steal  a  few  additional  vertical  feet  under  the  allowance 
of  roof.  As  property  is  valuable,  the  legal  limit  is  uni- 
formly reached;  but  monotony  is  avoided  because  the 
race  of  architects  turned  out  by  the  Beaux-Arts,  where 
we  send  our  Americans  to  learn  the  rudiments  of  their 
profession,  has  found  a  variety  in  the  unity  that  makes 
for  restful  beauty.  Again,  the  poverty  of  Paris  in  its 
water-supply  seems  to  result  in  another  blessing.  The 
water  in  some  of  the  mains  is  not  potable,  as  they  say, 
pas  de  la  source,  and  the  Parisian  is  as  lavish  with  it  in 
the  streets  and  fountains  as  he  is  economical  of  its  use 
in  his  bathtubs. 

Every  morning,  in  every  block,  a  street-cleaner  turns  a 
little  rivulet  through  the  gutter,  dams  it  into  a  little  lake 
with  a  bunch  of  burlap,  and  with  his  long  and  homely 

IN  PARIS  399 

broom  of  osiers  sweeps  it  over  the  wooden  pavement 
levels,  washing  back  the  debris  to  the  run  and  gradually 
extending  rivulet  and  lake  until  he  has  accomplished  his 
block.  The  morning  gutter  and  the  sky-line  call  atten- 
tion newly  to  each  new  day. 

And  then  this  third  item:  Intelligent  Paris  recognizes 
and  admits  the  eye  as  an  organ.  It  is  not  to  be  more 
lawlessly  assailed  than  is  the  ear.  No  man  for  commer- 
cial purposes  shall  without  restriction  assault  the  passers' 
attention  with  his  blatant  demand.  The  twenty-four- 
sheet  stand,  the  barbaric  three-sheet  poster  do  not  exist, 
because  the  municipality  puts  a  tax  upon  every  sheet  of 
paper  that  solicits  its  attention.  Advertising  space  is 
relatively  as  valuable  on  the  walls  as  it  is  in  the  news- 
papers, and  so  posters  are  artistic,  of  more  than  ephemeral 
value,  and  are  in  the  main  confined  to  handsome  little 
kiosks  set  up  at  intervals  for  their  accommodation. 

When  will  America  learn  this  value  of  public  right? 
When  will  all  the  unsightly  boards  that  confine  our  rail- 
way journeys  to  hideous  alleys  of  proclamatory  and  man- 
datory attacks  be  regulated  by  proper  assessment  under 
state  domain  to  things  of  tolerable  sightliness  and  sources 
of  revenue  to  the  poor  public  whom  they  afflict?  When 
will  unoffending  citizens  be  permitted  to  travel  and  look 
from  their  car  windows  on  refreshing  landscapes  without 
being  commanded  to  use  Startum's  Alarm  Clock  or 
Sokum's  Condensed  Milk?  Why  must  there  always  be 
interposed  between  the  ruminative  individual  and  the 
stenography  of  his  Maker  the  commercial  persuasion  of 
his  fellow  man,  money  mad? 

To  one  writing  for  the  theatre  Paris  is  always  rich  in 
suggestion.  Little  plays  that  have  not  the  importance 
to  get  into  L' Illustration,  or  even  into  the  printed 


brochure,  dramatic  bits  that  never  make  their  way  to 
America,  are  at  the  small  theatres  on  the  boulevards  and 
the  back  streets  and  in  the  Qu artier  and  in  Montmartre, 
more  than  half  of  them  containing  each  some  little  sug- 
gestive, facile  scene  that  educates  and  urges.  When  I 
had  my  Drew-Barrymore  play  finished  I  sent  it  over  to 
C.  F.  by  mail  under  the  title  of  "The  Pug  and  the  Par- 
son," and  under  that  title  it  was  announced.  But  before 
I  could  get  over  to  rehearse  it  Mr.  Frohman  had  received 
a  couple  of  letters  from  Protestant  ministers  protesting 
against  the  association.  He  had  a  racial  reluctance  to 
risk  their  displeasure,  and  although  I  stoutly  stood  for 
the  title,  feeling  that  the  word  "parson"  was  not  so 
sacrosanct  that  one  might  not  use  it,  his  wish  of  course 
prevailed.  We  called  the  play  "The  Other  Girl." 

C.  F.  felt  that  it  wouldn't  do  to  put  Drew  into  the 
part  of  the  preacher,  however,  because  the  character, 
although  an  equal  part  in  the  play's  value  and  in  the 
writing,  could  not  from  its  very  kind  compete  with  the 
character  of  the  pugilist.  He  believed  that  Barrymore, 
again  associated  with  his  uncle,  Mr.  Drew,  would  lead 
those  who  judged  superficially  to  proclaim  the  younger 
man  the  better  actor,  when  the  facts  would  be  that  in 
this  play,  as  in  "The  Mummy  and  the  Humming-Bird" 
he  had  only  the  more  showy  part.  It  was  therefore  de- 
cided to  keep  Lionel  as  the  pugilist  and  put  some  avail- 
able leading  man  in  the  part  that  had  been  meant  for 
Mr.  Drew.  Frank  Worthing  was  engaged  for  this,  and  I 
have  never  seen  a  manager  move  with  more  enthusiasm 
to  get  an  adequate  company. 

I  am  sorry  to  forget  the  name  of  the  play  in  which  a 
very  beautiful  girl  of  that  time  had  made  an  impression. 
This  girl  was  Drina  De  Wolfe,  the  wife  of  Elsie  De 

IN  PARIS  401 

Wolfe's  brother.  There  was  some  slight  domestic-in- 
law  difference  that  made  these  ladies  not  agreeable  to 
each  other,  and  the  wish  to  see  them  both  in  the  same 
cast  piqued  Frohman's  sense  of  humor  so  much  that  he 
set  about  the  seemingly  impossible  task  of  persuading 
the  two  ladies,  with  the  result  that  the  valuable  co-opera- 
tion of  both  actresses  was  obtained.  Selina  Fetter,  who 
had  been  a  favorite  New  York  leading  woman  when  she 
married  Edwin  Milton  Royle,  was  induced  to  take  a  part 
somewhat  more  mature  than  those  she  had  previously 
shown  in.  For  a  young  reporter,  Richard  Bennett  was 
engaged;  and  such  excellent  actors  as  Joseph  Wheelock, 
Jr.,  Ralph  Delmore,  and  Joseph  Whiting,  together  with 
Jessie  Busley  and  Maggie  Fielding,  then  one  of  the  great- 
est favorites  of  the  vaudeville  theatres,  were  also  engaged. 
The  Criterion  Theatre,  in  which  we  were  ultimately  to 
play,  was  given  to  us  for  all  our  rehearsals.  That  one 
should  mention  this  may  puzzle  the  layman,  but  such 
conditions  are  not  always  provided.  I  think  the  rule  is 
to  the  contrary;  that  the  majority  of  plays  are  moved 
about  in  their  rehearsals  from  one  theatre  to  another, 
and  occasionally  into  some  hired  hall.  There  is  a  great 
advantage  in  rehearsing  in  the  playhouse  in  which  you 
are  to  open,  and  getting  always  the  proper  tonal  values 
and  the  physical  relations  that  are  to  be  undisturbed 
and  unrevised. 

As  soon  as  Lionel  knew  he  was  cast  for  the  pugilist 
he  hunted  up  Kid  McCoy  and  passed  much  of  his  time 
outside  the  theatre  with  the  champion.  This  admiration 
was  reciprocated,  and  when  the  play  opened  McCoy 
came  often  to  see  his  counterfeit  presentment.  One  dif- 
ference between  Barrymore  and  McCoy  was  that  the 
Kid's  hair  was  as  curly  as  Lionel's  was  straight.  For  a 


period  in  the  early  run  of  the  piece,  and  for  all  I  know 
during  all  the  while  he  was  in  it,  Lionel  had  his  hair  arti- 
ficially curled  each  evening  in  order  properly  to  present 
this  international  favorite. 

I  have  reason  to  believe  that  an  ether  jag  indicated 
by  Mr.  Wheelock,  who  impersonated  a  character  just 
released  from  the  table  where  he  had  undergone  an  opera- 
tion under  the  influence  of  ether,  was  the  first  time  that 
phenomenon  was  presented  in  the  theatre.  The  use  of 
sulphuric  ether  as  an  anaesthetic  dates  from  some  time 
since  the  Civil  War,  and  we  are  familiar  with  most  of 
the  plays  produced  since  that  time.  In  the  rehearsals 
of  this  scene  Wheelock  more  than  once  offered  to  sur- 
render his  part,  believing  that  the  demonstrations  I  was 
asking  of  him  were  exaggerated  and  unreal;  but  he  had 
never  taken  ether,  and  I'd  had  two  jumps  at  it,  so  with 
the  help  of  Mr.  Frohman  he  was  finally  persuaded. 

In  Paris,  Alfred  Sutro  had  brought  to  our  delighted 
attention  the  novels  of  Leonard  Merrick,  who  is  related 
to  Sutro.  One  of  these  stories  is  called  "The  Position  of 
Peggy  Harper."  It  relates  an  author's  patient  training 
of  Miss  Peggy,  even  to  the  saucy  lifting  of  her  chin  and 
other  apparently  unconscious  personal  tricks;  the  great 
hit  of  the  young  lady  in  London  in  the  author's  play, 
and  then  the  unanimous  comment  of  the  press  upon  those 
delightful  characteristics,  chin-tipping  and  the  like,  and 
the  author's  great  good  fortune  in  finding  an  exponent 
who  possessed  them  and  thereby  saved  his  piece  from 
failure.  I  fancy  this  is  not  an  unusual  experience  with 
playwrights  who  have  positive  ideas  and  who  direct  their 
own  plays. 

As  I  have  written  in  earlier  pages,  I  was  obliged  to  go 
back  to  Paris  a  day  or  two  after  we  opened  at  the  Cri- 

IN  PARIS  403 

terion;  but  before  I  left  Barrymore's  success  was  so 
pronounced  and  his  identification  with  the  part  seemed 
so  permanent  that  Frohman  asked  me  what  I  thought 
of  featuring  him  in  the  play.  Of  course,  with  my  ad- 
miration for  the  boy  and  my  older  friendship  with  his 
parents,  as  well  as  a  sense  of  justice,  I  was  delighted  with 
it.  "The  Other  Girl"  was  produced  late  in  December, 
1903.  Ethel  Barrymore  was  at  that  time  playing  at  the 
Hudson  Theatre  in  "Cousin  Kate."  I  saw  her  the  fol- 
lowing summer  at  her  Uncle  John  Drew's  house  at  East 
Hampton.  The  first  vivid  experience  she  had  to  report 
to  me  was  of  a  night  in  midwinter  when  leaving  the  Hud- 
son Theatre  to  go  home  she  had  encountered  on  Broad- 
way a  billboard  on  which  was  a  great  stand  starring 
Lionel  Barrymore,  her  brother.  Ethel  said  she  was  so 
pleased  that  tears  sprang  to  her  eyes.  I  was  able  to  tell 
her  then  of  her  own  first  night  in  "Captain  Jinks"  at 
the  Garrick,  when  her  father  and  I  leaned  on  the  bulk- 
head of  the  filled  theatre. 

Then  Barry's  eyes  were  full  of  tears  as  he  turned  to 
me  and  said:  "My  God,  isn't  she  sweet?"  And  she  was. 

In  my  first  saunter  through  my  recollections,  and 
through  the  contemporary  suggestions  that  were  about 
me  for  the  search  of  a  subject  for  the  Drew  play,  my 
attention — not  for  the  first  time — went  back  to  the  little 
"Constitutional  Point"  that  I  had  written  for  Mr.  Palmer. 
It  was  unsuited  to  my  needs,  but  its  ultimate  usefulness 
was  not  to  be  overlooked.  After  leaving  my  engagement 
with  Bishop,  which  had  been  the  inspiration  for  the  little 
piece,  I  had  been  more  and  more  intrigued  with  the  sub- 
ject. The  basis  for  my  information  was  in  the  series  of 
books  written  by  Doctor  Thomas  Hudson,  of  which  his 
"Law  of  Psychic  Phenomena"  was  the  first.  I  was  there- 


by  led  to  a  considerable  interest  in  the  experiments  and 
findings  of  Doctor  Baird,  the  Englishman,  and  Charcot 
and  Janet,  the  Frenchmen,  and  occasionally  when  a  kin- 
dred subject  was  on  the  calendar  during  my  stay  in  Paris 
I  would  go  into  the  indicated  salle  of  the  Sorbonne  and 
hear  some  lecture  on  psychology. 

There  was  a  double  purpose  in  this.  To  one  learning 
French  the  philosophic  and  scientific  vocabularies  are 
much  more  easily  followed  than  the  vernacular  of  the 
modern  theatre  or  that  of  the  street  and  shops.  I  became 
convinced  of  telepathy  as  a  fact  and  as  a  force,  but 
adopted  only  the  sense  of  the  responsibility  that  it  im- 
plied, and  never  in  any  wise  felt  the  slightest  call  for  any 
experiment  on  what  might  be  called  the  aggressive  or 
therapeutic  side  of  it. 

While  we  were  rehearsing  "The  Other  Girl,"  Lionel 
spent  many  evenings  with  me  in  my  temporary  quarters 
at  the  hotel  and  elsewhere,  and  often  his  brother  Jack, 
not  yet  thoroughly  launched  upon  his  career,  was  with 
us.  There  is  in  both  the  boys  a  deep  hospitality  for  every- 
thing approaching  mysticism,  and  the  forceful  side  of 
telepathy  had  for  them  a  profound  attraction. 

There  was  a  little  incident  in  which  we  three  were  en- 
gaged, so  isolated  as  to  have  no  value  in  any  scientific 
aspect,  but  nevertheless  amusing.  In  the  old  Cafe  Boule- 
vard, on  Second  Avenue  near  Tenth  Street,  there  was  to 
the  rear  a  section  of  the  floor,  evidently  the  level  of  some 
acquired  addition,  reached  by  the  ascent  of  three  or  four 
steps.  We  were  on  that  little  mezzanine.  I  was  referring 
to  somebody's  statement  and  demonstration  of  the  pos- 
sibility of  making  a  person  in  front  of  one  in  an  audience 
conscious  of  the  gaze  of  another  at  a  distance  behind 
him.  The  boys  proposed  the  experiment.  To  make  it 

IN  PARIS  405 

difficult  they  selected  a  woman  in  the  fore  part  of  the 
restaurant  parquet  who  sat  with  back  squarely  toward 
us.  We  agreed  upon  her  by  hat  and  furs,  and  the  like, 
and  then — conforming  to  instructions — instead  of  merely 
mentally  commanding  the  lady  to  look  around,  we  in 
our  minds  definitely  dramatized  her  doing  so  and  focused 
thought  and  attention  on  her.  In  the  time  in  which  one 
can  perhaps  count  ten,  with  a  gesture  of  great  annoyance 
the  lady  faced  squarely  about  and  glared  at  us. 

I  have  referred  in  earlier  chapters  to  a  patron  of  the 
theatre  whose  theories  were  so  reassuring,  Mr.  Thomas 
B.  Clarke,  a  connoisseur  and  art  collector.  Men  who 
know  Mr.  Clarke,  and  know  him  intimately  enough  to 
call  him  Tom,  will  understand  my  taking  any  excuse, 
however  risky,  to  have  an  hour  in  his  company.  For 
some  reason  during  this  winter,  1903,  in  New  York  he 
wanted  me  to  meet  his  friend,  Mr.  Frederick  Gebhard. 
As  I  remember,  Mr.  Gebhard  had  requested  the  meet- 
ing, which  was  to  be  at  a  very  small  dinner  at  his  home 
then  on  the  eastern  side  of  Park  Avenue  at  about  Thirty- 
ninth  Street.  I  went  with  a  fairly  keen  interest,  wonder- 
ing somewhat  fatuously  if  Mr.  Gebhard  knew  anything 
of  my  St.  Louis  newspaper  reports  of  his  visits  there. 
As  I  recalled  them,  they  were  rather  complimentary 
than  otherwise,  except  for  a  hideous  woodcut  issued  as 
a  portrait.  But  a  man  about  town  would  hardly  invite 
a  person  to  a  small  dinner  party  in  order  to  assault  him 
for  that  offense  after  so  many  years  had  intervened.  It 
was  a  fine  little  dinner,  arranged  by  an  excellent  chef 
and  accompanied  by  good  wine. 

I  had  last  seen  Mr.  Gebhard  in  1884,  twenty  years 
before,  then  wearing  the  title  of  the  King  of  Dudes.  He 
was  now  a  middle-aged,  reserved,  and  serious  gentleman, 


talking  entertainingly  and  modestly  on  questions  of  art 
and  literature.  He  was  gray  at  the  temples,  decidedly 
modelled  as  to  face,  a  little  heavier  as  to  figure,  but  ath- 
letic still.  Over  the  mantel  of  his  living-room  was  the 
picture  of  a  beautiful  woman  set  in  a  large  oval  frame. 
The  men  of  the  small  party  regarded  it  with  admiration. 

"Where  did  you  get  it?"  Clarke  asked. 

"You've  seen  that  before.    That's  Lulu." 

"Not  the  Eastman  Johnson?" 

"Yes,"  Gebhard  answered.  "I  had  Jones  go  over  it 
for  me,  change  the  color  of  the  hair  and  the  eyes." 

"But  why?" 

"Well,  one  doesn't  go  on  living  with  a  portrait  of  a 
divorced  wife.  I'm  so  damn  poor  I  can't  afford  another 
picture  for  that  space.  I  had  the  coloring  changed,  and 
it  makes  a  decoration." 

I  knew  nothing  of  the  divorced  wife,  have  learned 
nothing  since,  nor  of  the  circumstances.  But  the  atti- 
tude of  the  lonely  man,  the  cynical  philosophy  that  made 
that  use  of  the  canvas  and  gave  that  frank  explanation 
impressed  me.  I  was  looking  for  the  as-yet-undiscovered 
idea  for  a  play  for  John  Drew.  I  had  kept  the  contract 
with  Mr.  Frohman  when  I  had  furnished  him  "The  Other 
Girl,"  but  the  Drew  project  to  my  delight  was  still  be- 
fore me.  A  divorce,  and  such  a  definite  divorce  as  Mr. 
Gebhard,  for  a  hero,  with  the  intriguing  idea  of  the  re- 
painted portrait,  made  a  good  starting-point.  The  cause 
of  the  divorce  must  of  course  be  a  woman.  The  outcome 
of  the  play  would  be  a  return  to  the  wife  or  a  marriage 
with  the  other  woman.  Of  those  alternatives  I  chose 
the  woman.  My  problem  was  to  have  her  the  more  de- 
sirable of  the  two;  to  have  her  innocent  of  any  trans- 
gression and  unconscious  of  any  charge.  The  wife  would 

IN  PARIS  407 

have  to  be  mistaken  in  her  suspicions;  the  matter  would 
have  to  be  settled  out  of  court.  And  then  again  my  recol- 
lection of  the  lonely  Gebhard  suggested  having  obstacles 
to  the  second  marriage.  I  found  those  obstacles  in  a 
disparity  of  years,  in  a  perfunctory  suitor  for  the  girl, 
in  an  angered  and  belligerent  father,  who,  unlike  the  girl, 
was  not  in  ignorance  of  the  charges,  and  so  on.  As  one 
may  surmise,  with  story  both  ways  from  the  portrait,  I 
had  material  enough. 

When  the  play,  which  we  called  "De  Lancey,"  was 
finished  I  was  in  France  again.  John  Drew  had  come 
over  to  visit  Frohman  in  London,  and  together  the  two 
came  to  Paris  to  have  lunch  with  me  and  listen  to  the 
manuscript.  Our  apartment  at  108  Boulevard  Mont- 
parnasse  was  over  the  Cafe  du  Dome.  John  felt  that  he 
should  have  a  cocktail  before  he  climbed  the  four  flights 
to  the  luncheon,  and  Frohman,  who  didn't  take  cock- 
tails, stood  with  him  in  the  little  cafe  against  the  bar  of 
zinc,  while  John  in  a  long  French  dialogue  got  such  pos- 
sible substitutes  for  the  right  materials  as  the  small  stock 
of  French  supplies  afforded.  The  cocktail,  made  in  a 
glass  and  stirred  with  a  spoon,  was  warm  and  long  and 
unpalatable,  but  after  a  hard  day  in  London,  a  night 
crossing  of  the  Channel,  and  a  morning  ride  up  from  Bou- 
logne, it  was  needed.  When  they  reached  our  apartment 
Frohman  sat  down  on  the  wooden  chair  by  the  hat-rack 
and  had  a  real  characteristic,  abandoned  laugh  because 
I  met  them  in  the  hallway  agitating  a  large  cocktail- 
shaker  in  which  was  a  first-class  Martini,  cold  and  proper, 
and  the  best  materials  for  the  sceptical  but  not  disquali- 
fied Drew. 

When  I  was  in  Pope's  Theatre,  and  later  when  I  was 
working  on  the  Post-Dispatch,  there  was  at  the  Wash- 


ington  University  in  St.  Louis  a  young  man  principally 
engaged  in  teaching  French,  which  was  his  native  tongue. 
He  spoke  English  correctly,  but  with  the  unmistakable 
accent  of  the  Frenchman.  He  was  friend  of  many  of  the 
men  on  the  Post-Dispatch,  some  of  whom  took  private 
lessons  from  him.  Occasionally  he  wrote  for  the  paper. 
The  name  of  this  Frenchman  was  Henri  Dumay.  He 
later  for  a  while  went  into  the  service  of  Mr.  Joseph  Pulit- 
zer, Sr.,  I  think  as  private  secretary.  He  added  to  his 
knowledge  of  journalism,  and  later  in  his  home  city  en- 
gaged on  the  Parisian  press.  He  held  a  position  of  au- 
thority on  Le  Journal.  Dumay  also  wrote  for  the  theatre. 
I  don't  know  how  many  of  his  pieces  were  done,  but  "La 
Petite  Milliardaire"  was  one  of  them.  In  Paris,  Dumay 
and  I  renewed  the  friendship  that  had  begun  in  St.  Louis 
years  before  and  been  occasionally  reinforced  in  New 
York.  I  think  he  was  a  few  years  my  junior.  He  was  an 
enthusiastic  militarist  and  an  officer  of  the  reserves.  I 
find  myself  speaking  of  him  in  the  past  tense  because  I 
have  heard  nothing  of  him  since  the  early  years  of  the 

During  our  three  and  a  half  years*  residence  in  Paris 
my  wife  and  I  found  it  convenient  and  agreeable  to  leave 
France  after  the  Salon  and  the  spring  artistic  activities 
were  over,  go  to  London  for  a  few  minutes,  or  to  Ant- 
werp, and  take  a  boat  for  America  when  the  tide  of  travel 
was  running  altogether  in  the  other  direction.  The  sum- 
mers at  East  Hampton,  near  the  end  of  Long  Island, 
where  the  water  comes  rolling  from  Brazil  to  break  upon 
the  sand  dunes  of  that  coast,  have  for  me  the  most  en- 
joyable summer  climate  in  America.  On  one  of  these 
trips  Dumay  came  with  us. 

Talking  of  dinner-parties  one  evening,  I  told  him  and 

IN  PARIS  409 

some  other  listeners  at  East  Hampton  of  a  dinner  at- 
tempted some  ten  years  before  at  our  house  in  New  Ro- 
chelle.  At  that  earlier  dinner  ten  guests  were  expected, 
making  a  total  party  of  twelve.  All  but  one  were 
coming  from  New  York  City.  There  was  a  blizzard  on 
the  day  set,  and  the  only  guest  to  arrive  was  a  lady  living 
in  New  Rochelle.  She  did  not  reach  the  house  until 
nearly  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening,  and  was  then  in  the 
arms  of  her  coachman.  The  coupe  in  which  she  had 
passed  nearly  an  hour  trying  to  cover  a  quarter  of  a  mile 
was  stalled  in  the  snow-drift  on  our  lawn. 

When  the  lady  was  thawed  out  and  revived,  and  as 
we  faced  the  flowers  and  the  salted  almonds,  this  solitary 
guest  on  my  right  said  to  my  wife  on  my  left,  "If  you 
were  to  put  this  on  the  stage  nobody  would  believe  it." 

There  was  a  feature  of  our  table  that  became  an  ef- 
fective property  in  a  first  act.  This  was  a  hole  some 
eighteen  inches  square,  which,  contrary  to  the  expostula- 
tions of  our  local  carpenter,  I  had  cut  in  the  centre  of  the 
table.  In  this  opening  was  fitted  a  copper  pan  that 
caught  the  drift  from  a  tiny  fountain  that  could  play 
over  stones  and  ferns  when  we  had  visitors  or  felt  senti- 
mental ourselves.  It  was  a  perfect  little  fountain,  regu- 
lated under  the  table  by  a  key  which  no  man  ought  to 
expect  a  woman  to  reach,  and  it  worked  satisfactorily 
nine  times  out  of  ten,  or  until  a  bit  of  dirt  or  some  aquatic 
insect  got  into  its  pinhole  nozzle.  Then  it  spurted  eccen- 
trically and  was  a  regular  fool  thing. 

One  night  Francis  Wilson  had  the  attention  of  the 
company  and  was  telling  a  good  story  when  the  fountain 
took  one  of  these  fits.  The  stream  struck  fair  and  square 
on  the  stiff  bosom  of  his  dress  shirt  and  made  a  noise 
like  rain  on  a  roof.  Company  tablecloths  are  long,  and 


before  I  could  get  under  and  find  the  key  a  good  deal 
of  water  went  Mr.  Wilson's  way,  but  it  didn't  interrupt 
his  story.  He  turned  up  his  lapels  like  a  sailorman  on 
the  bridge  and  held  his  place.  We  abandoned  the  foun- 
tain soon  after  that,  but  the  Francis  Wilson  episode  al- 
ways impressed  persons  humorously  when  we  told  it 
to  explain  the  patch  on  the  table  where  the  copper  pan 
had  been,  and  one  gentle  visitor  said:  "Mr.  Thomas, 
you  ought  to  put  that  in  a  play." 

When  I  presented  this  material  to  Dumay  he  said  that 
no  playwright  could  make  more  than  one  act  of  it,  and 
it  was  upon  his  banter  that  I  started  out  to  show  him  that 
the  material  was  sufficient,  with  its  suggestion,  to  furnish 
forth  a  three-act  comedy. 

There  was  at  East  Hampton  an  empty  box  stall  in  the 
stable,  with  windows  set  so  high  that  one  couldn't  look 
out  of  them.  I  put  in  only  a  kitchen  chair  and  a  small 
pine  table  from  the  village  general  store — not  even  a 
calendar  to  distract  attention.  My  play  material  to 
start  with  was  a  suburban  house,  isolated  by  a  storm  on 
the  evening  of  a  prepared  dinner.  Persons  once  there 
couldn't  easily  leave,  and  only  the  sturdy  and  the  heroic 
could  arrive.  Question:  What  is  the  best  use  to  make 
of  that  set  of  conditions?  Answer:  The  exploitation  of 
a  person  or  persons  who  would  like  to  get  away  and  can't 
do  so.  What  person  would  be  the  most  effective  figure 
under  such  constraint?  A  girl ! 

I  took  the  proposed-and-interrupted  dinner-party  in- 
dicated, made  it  in  honor  of  the  girl,  a  guest  in  the  house; 
made  the  lady  neighbor  who  was  carried  into  the  house 
by  the  coachman  the  girl's  unidentified  rival  in  the  af- 
fections of  a  young  man  who  had  been  temporarily  cast 
off  by  the  girl  because  of  a  scandal  of  which  both  he  and 

IN  PARIS  411 

the  married  lady  were  innocent,  but  which  was  suffi- 
ciently distorted  in  its  first  presentation.  Then  I  drove 
the  young  man,  an  architect,  into  the  house  from  a  near- 
by job  to  telephone,  unaware  of  the  girl's  presence  or  of 
the  projected  dinner  until  he  arrives.  With  the  people 
living  in  the  house  and  the  father  and  mother  of  the 
hostess  and  the  jealous  husband  of  the  married  lady  I 
had  people  enough  for  a  story.  I  cannot  repeat  a  play, 
not  even  a  plot,  in  these  pages,  but  believe  I  have  here- 
with given  enough  to  indicate  the  sprightliness  of  the  sub- 
ject and  the  sufficiency  of  the  material. 

When  the  comedy  was  done,  after  some  six  weeks  of 
rather  intensive  writing,  we  called  it  "Mrs.  LeffingwelPs 
Boots."  Frohman  immediately  accepted  it  and  told  me 
he  would  wire  me  to  Paris  when  time  and  a  place  in  the 
theatres  were  ripe  for  it.  I  came  over  the  next  midwinter, 
when  I  found  the  radiant  C.  F.  with  another  one  of  his 
extraordinary  casts.  It  was  a  way  with  Mr.  Frohman 
to  see  unrecognized  ability  in  a  young  woman  and  quickly 
give  her  opportunities  to  prove  her  worth  to  the  public. 
Though  these  opportunities  could  be  devised,  it  wasn't 
always  possible  to  make  the  public  accept  the  lady  at 
his  estimate  of  her.  My  recollection  is  that  when  the 
public  had  failed,  however,  C.  F.  was  more  nearly  right 
than  the  general  jury. 

Such  a  girl  had  come  under  his  attention  at  that  time 
in  the  person  of  Fay  Davis,  a  most  intelligent  actress, 
with  a  method  perhaps  a  little  too  delicate  if  anything. 
It  had  more  the  quality  of  the  miniature  painter's  atten- 
tion to  subtleties  and  to  details  than  is  effective  in  the 
playhouse,  which  responds  more  readily  to  the  broader 
touches.  Mr.  Frohman  had  starred  her  in  "Lady  Rose's 
Daughter,"  featured  her  in  "The  Whitewashing  of  Julia" 


and  in  "The  Rich  Mrs.  Repton."  To  my  great  profit 
and  delight  he  found  for  her  in  the  young  girl  I  have  re- 
ferred to  in  this  story  of  mine  what  he  thought  was  a 
role  worthy  of  her  attention.  And  then,  in  order  to  give 
Miss  Davis  a  perfect  support  and  companionship,  he 
assembled  a  cast  that  included  these  excellent  players: 
Margaret  Illington,  then  prominently  in  the  public  affec- 
tion; Jessie  Busley,  one  of  the  best  of  the  comediennes; 
Dorothy  Hammond,  a  very  pretty  leading  woman;  and 
that  excellent  actress,  Annie  Adams,  mother  of  Maude. 
Among  the  men  he  had  two  leading  men  then  as  now  of 
equal  rank — William  Courtenay  and  Vincent  Serrano; 
also  the  popular  Jack  Barnes,  English  actor;  Ernest 
Lawford,  who  had  been  featured  in  some  Frohman  pro- 
ductions; that  excellent  American  comedian,  Louis 
Payne;  and  that  almost  last  of  the  fine  old  American 
gentleman  type,  the  late  John  G.  Saville.  The  remain- 
ing members  of  the  company  in  the  minor  roles  were 
more  than  adequate.  C.  F.  turned  this  cast  over  to  me, 
with  the  Savoy  Theatre,  where  rehearsals  would  be  un- 
interrupted. There  was  nobody  to  replace  in  the  com- 
pany, no  revisions  or  corrections  to  be  made  in  the  text, 
and  C.  F.  never  came  near  us  until  the  night  of  our  dress 

It  will  be  interesting  to  record  a  typical  Frohman  dress 
rehearsal.  He  sometimes  departed  from  his  rule,  but  his 
custom  was  to  have  such  a  rehearsal  with  nobody  in 
front  but  the  author  and  himself.  Even  an  assistant 
director  or  a  man  who  had  held  a  book  and  was  supposed 
to  have  some  interest  in  the  setting  was  not  allowed  to 
come  in  front  of  the  curtain.  I  remember  such  an  in- 
trusion by  a  perfectly  justified  stage-manager  who  came 
into  a  box  of  the  Criterion  Theatre  when  we  were  doing 
"The  Other  Girl." 

IN  PARIS  413 

C.  F.  said  to  him,  "What  are  you  doing  there?" 

"I  want  to  look  at  the  scene,  Mr.  Frohman." 

"We'll  tell  you  about  that,"  and  the  functionary  dis- 

Our  dress  rehearsal  for  "Mrs.  Leffingweirs  Boots" 
was  at  the  Savoy.  C.  F.  and  I  were  alone.  The  presen- 
tation proceeded  exactly  as  a  first  night,  with  every  for- 
mality observed. 

When  the  first  act  was  over  he  said  to  me,  "These 
people  aren't  acting." 

"They're  not?" 

"No,  they're  living!" 

It  was  a  pretty  compliment  to  the  company,  and  I 
tried  to  steal  some  of  it  for  the  author;  but  that  was 
entirely  a  mental  process.  When  our  last  curtain  fell, 
C.  F.  had  it  taken  up  again;  the  company  was  called 
on  the  stage  and  in  a  few  heartening  and  sincere  phrases 
he  told  them  how  highly  he  estimated  their  work.  There 
was  no  need  at  our  first  performance  to  reverse  his  opin- 
ion. I  like  to  recur  in  my  thoughts  to  that  engagement 
and  to  that  happy  family  of  players,  and  I  like  to  write 
about  it.  Those  ideal  conditions  are  what  every  player 
dreams  of  when  he  comes  into  the  theatre  and  what  every 
playwright  has  in  mind  when  he  sets  down  a  line.  Noth- 
ing is  so  health-giving  and  beneficial  as  this  full,  unim- 
peded expression  and  interpretation. 

In  "The  Earl  of  Pawtucket,"  of  which  I  have  written 
above,  D'Orsay's  success  was  marked.  When  he  had 
played  it  well  into  the  third  year  and  there  was  only  what 
was  called  the  small  time  open  to  him  he  grew  anxious 
for  another  vehicle,  and  felt  that  he  could  make  better 
monetary  arrangements  elsewhere  than  he  then  had 
with  La  Shelle.  Mr.  Frohman  had  revised  his  measure 


of  D'Orsay  and  now  regarded  him  as  of  stellar  magnitude. 
I  was  commissioned  to  write  him  a  successor  to  "Paw- 
tucket."  D'Orsay's  ambition  made  him  ask  also  for  a 
more  substantial  purpose  in  the  play.  The  first  version 
of  "The  Embassy  Ball"  was,  in  consequence,  a  four-act 
play,  mainly  attempting  comedy,  but  with  a  quite  serious 
note  at  the  end  of  its  third  act.  Our  first  night  was  in 
New  Haven.  Mr.  Frohman  could  not  attend.  He  said 
he  would  base  his  opinion  of  the  play  entirely  upon  my 
telegraphic  report  of  its  reception,  and  not  upon  the 
notices  or  opinions  he  would  get  from  others. 

I  wired  him,  "A  dignified  frost." 

There  is  little  value  in  going  into  the  reasons  for  this 
result.  One  of  them,  however,  has  interest.  The  end  of 
the  third  act  was  a  well-defined  conflict  between  a  sinister 
interest  in  the  play  and  D'Orsay,  who  had  the  heroic 
element.  The  climax  of  this  conflict  was  dramatized  by 
D'Orsay's  tearing  from  some  diplomatic  record  the  leaf 
that  was  the  vital  issue.  This  he  did  under  the  rhetorical 
encouragement  of  the  character  played  by  that  excellent 
comedian,  Harry  Harwood.  D'Orsay  complained  that 
his  support  at  the  serious  moment  was  not  sufficient. 
There  was  some  justice  in  his  claim.  Harwood  contended 
that  there  wasn't  material  in  his  lines  to  evoke  the  ap- 
plause that  we  expected.  In  my  own  opinion  the  fate 
of  the  piece  was  so  well  settled  that  whether  Harwood 
was  right  or  we  were  right  could  not  affect  the  ultimate 
result.  And  Mr.  Harwood's  effectiveness  along  the  lines 
of  his  own  work  as  a  comedian  is  too  well  known  to  re- 
quire anybody's  reinforcement. 

At  Hartford  one  night  I  tried  on  Harwood's  wig,  and 
he  generously  consented  to  my  going  on  for  his  character 
in  that  performance.  With  the  different  treatment  of 

IN  PARIS  415 

the  stump-speech  material  the  act  got  the  calls  that  it 
potentially  held.  The  value  of  this  was  only  my  own 
assay  of  the  stuff,  because  Harwood's  association  with 
the  enterprise  was  worth  much  more  than  the  material 
in  question. 

Frohman  saw  the  piece  in  Philadelphia  and  was  de- 
pressed. The  lay  reader  should  understand  the  interests 
at  stake.  To  fail  then  was  to  throw  an  entire  company 
out  of  employment  in  November;  to  give  in  a  measure 
a  black  eye  to  the  reputation  of  the  star  and  to  leave  on 
the  hands  of  the  management  an  expensive  production, 
including  scenery  and  costumes  and  a  fair  stock  of  print- 
ing. Despite  its  feebleness  as  theatrical  text  the  play 
had  shown  us  that  D'Orsay  was  more  acceptable  in  his 
proper  comedy  work  than  he  was  as  a  pseudo-leading 

As  C.  F.  and  I  leaned  over  the  bulkhead  of  the  Chest- 
nut Street  Theatre  I  recalled  my  experiences  in  rewriting 
the  Crane  plays  "For  Money"  and  "The  Governor  of 
Kentucky,"  and  lesser  work  on  the  unsigned  scripts  that 
C.  F.  himself  had  called  me  in  to  patch  or  carpenter. 
I  thought  I  saw  my  way  to  make  a  three-act  comedy  of 
what  we  had.  I  told  him  so.  My  family  was  in  Paris. 
I  was  a  bit  uneasy  about  them.  I  said  if  he  would  lay 
off  the  company  for  four  weeks  that  I  would  jump  over 
to  Paris  and  back,  and  I  thought  we  could  salvage  all 
the  investment  enumerated,  with  the  exception  of  the 
four  weeks'  time  held  in  the  theatres.  C.  F.  was  delighted 
with  the  proposal.  D'Orsay  and  I  took  the  same  steamer 
for  the  other  side,  he  going  ostensibly  to  see  some  member 
of  his  family  supposed  to  be  ill.  I  wrote  on  the  boat  and 
worked  rapidly  in  Paris. 

In  three  weeks  after  leaving  New  York,  D'Orsay  and 


I  again  took  a  same  steamer  for  America,  where  we 
were  two  in  a  total  of  five  first-cabin  passengers.  On  the 
boat  I  finished  the  revision.  Two  days  after  we  landed 
we  had  script  and  parts  typed  and  began  rehearsals,  with 
that  delightful  actor,  Forrest  Robinson,  added  to  the 
cast  and  associated  with  Harwood.  The  three-act  ver- 
sion of  "The  Embassy  Ball,"  a  purely  farcical  attempt, 
was  successful.  We  played  it  two  years. 

Paris  lacks  the  ocean,  but  with  this  exception  it  has 
as  many  suburban  enticements  as  New  York,  and  the 
Parisian  is  as  accustomed  to  running  away  from  the  city 
for  a  little  one  or  two  day  vacation  as  any  metropolitan 
that  we  know.  To  change  the  ideas — changer  les  idees, 
as  they  say — is  with  them  a  frequent  act  of  mental  sani- 
tation. We  made  a  party  of  some  twelve  or  fifteen  Amer- 
icans, children  included,  who  were  at  the  pretty  hamlet 
of  Montigny-sur-Loing  in  the  middle  of  April  in  1906 
on  one  of  these  adopted  vacances.  The  terrace  of  the 
Hotel  Vanne  Rouge  has  its  retaining  wall  of  stone,  washed 
by  the  slow  waters  of  the  River  Loing  that  meanders  by, 
held  almost  in  lakelike  retardation  by  the  vanne,  or  water- 
gate,  that  accumulates  them  for  the  near-by  mill.  This 
little  terrace,  some  fifty  by  fifty  feet  of  gravelled  level, 
with  its  circular  tables  of  sheet-iron  and  weatherproof 
chairs,  sets  like  a  stage  to  the  low  and  theatrical  facade 
of  the  toy  hotel,  where  by  a  fair  jump  from  the  ground 
one  can  almost  catch  the  sill  of  the  second-story  window. 

On  Wednesday  the  trippers  had  gone  home  and  our 
American  colony  had  the  place  to  ourselves.  A  very 
obvious  bridal  couple  came  that  evening;  the  young  man 
with  the  French  whiskers  of  the  period,  the  bride  in  the 
attractive  and  now  antiquated  costume  of  the  date,  both 
oblivious  to  the  strangers  who  were  speaking  English. 

IN  PARIS  417 

After  a  little  rowboat  trip  in  the  twilight  the  couple  dis- 
appeared. We  were  at  cafe  au  lait  on  the  terrace  on 
Thursday  morning.  The  children  at  the  balustrade  were 
feeding  the  swans  when  the  small  diamond-paned  comic- 
opera  windows  of  the  upper  room  opened  and  there 
appeared  the  bridegroom  in  a  suit  of  lavender  pajamas 
whose  newly  laundered  and  utterly  unruffled  condition 
invited  attention. 

Doctor  Tom  Robbins  at  our  table  said:  "See  those 
immaculate  pajamas  on  the  new  groom!" 

All  looked  and  some  one  remarked,  "Yes,  a  new  groom 
sleeps  clean";  an  amusing  line,  but  not  so  tenacious  as 
alone  to  fix  the  Thursday  morning  of  that  nineteenth 
day  of  April.  The  event  that  did  that  was  the  arrival 
of  the  morning  paper  relating  the  catastrophe  in  San 
Francisco,  then  called  an  earthquake,  but  by  common 
consent  since  referred  to  as  the  fire. 

One  of  our  laughing  party  was  Mrs.  Chase,  who  had 
been  a  Miss  Mizner,  sister  of  Wilson  and  Addison  Miz- 
ner,  Californians.  Mr.  Chase  was  still  in  the  States,  and 
the  reports  of  the  devastation  included  territory  in  which 
the  family  had  important  financial  and  sentimental  in- 
terests. Other  Californians  were  in  our  party,  with  par- 
ents, brothers,  and  sisters  in  the  stricken  city.  The  blow 
made  everything  else  forgotten;  not  only  those  directly 
and  personally  affected  but  all  the  Americans  knew  their 
vacation  was  over  and  their  stations  were  at  the  lines  of 
quickest  communication. 

It  is  rather  fine  to  remember  the  promptness  with 
which  the  Americans  in  Paris  acted  at  that  time.  The 
American  Chamber  of  Commerce  assembled  the  next 
morning  upon  a  call  from  its  president  printed  in  the 
Paris  New  York  Herald.  It  was  a  crowded  meeting,  at- 


tended  not  only  by  the  members  but  by  many  sojourners 
and  transients.  There  was  some  little  personal  informa- 
tion, not  much;  the  cables  were  blocked.  Men  of  promi- 
nence and  power  addressed  the  company,  and  running 
true  to  form  after  the  American  manner  the  first  definite 
action  by  the  chamber  was  an  appropriation  and  a  vol- 
unteer subscription.  Thousands  of  dollars  were  im- 
mediately pledged.  The  mayor  of  San  Francisco  was 
telegraphed.  When,  after  a  period  of  two  or  three  days, 
the  rather  proud  but  fairly  self-reliant  reply  was  received 
that  outside  subscriptions  were  not  needed,  the  American 
chamber  met  again  and  the  money  was  diverted  to  a  loan 
fund  available  to  such  Californians  as  found  themselves 
in  Paris  with  their  communications  cut  or  their  sources 
of  supply  destroyed.  These  were  principally  students  in 
the  art  schools,  the  Sorbonne,  the  Beaux-Arts,  and  the 
musical  institutions.  But  how  fine  the  spirit,  how  ad- 
mirable that  highly  cultivated  ethical  capacity  to  re- 
spond !  How  thrilling  its  demonstration !  It  was,  of 
course,  a  comparatively  small  reaction,  but  it  was  very 
like  the  stir  that  went  over  all  America  that  sixth  day 
in  April,  1917,  when  the  resolution  of  Congress  decided 
that  we  were  in  the  war. 


One  of  the  delightful  conditions  in  the  home  life  in 
Paris,  at  least  from  the  view-point  of  an  American,  is 
the  attitude  of  the  domestic  servants  to  the  enterprise. 
Paris  is  divided  into  arrondissements,  or,  as  we  would 
call  them,  wards,  each  with  its  own  mayor  and  police 
and  domestic  courts  and  administration.  In  somewhat 
similar  division,  each  neighborhood  has  its  little  four 
corners  of  shops  that  supply  the  neighborhood.  There 
are  the  cafe,  the  baker,  the  grocer,  and  the  butcher.  To 
these  shops  each  morning  the  cook,  after  the  breakfast 
hour,  goes  for  her  purchases  of  the  day.  The  shopkeepers 
very  frankly  allow  her  10  per  cent  on  the  day's  order  and 
pay  it  to  her  then  in  cash.  There  is  no  attempt  to  con- 
ceal this  and  there  is  no  way  to  get  around  it.  If  the 
mistress  of  the  house  thinks  to  get  the  supplies  at  a  lower 
price  or  get  them  at  the  same  price  and  to  receive  the 
commission  that  is  paid  to  the  cook  she  finds  herself  go- 
ing contrary  to  established  custom  and  badly  mistaken. 
The  cook's  commissions  run  on  all  supplies  bought  that 
pass  through  her  department  and  are  in  any  way  affected 
by  her  art.  All  other  supplies,  such  as  wines,  candies, 
cakes,  and  candles,  bought  outside,  pay  a  percentage  to 
the  waitress. 

The  receipt  of  this  commission  of  10  per  cent  to  each 
of  these  functionaries  results  in  the  production  of  a  per- 
ennial amiability.  In  America,  in  a  modest  family,  the 



announcement  of  a  projected  dinner-party  is  apt  to  create 
some  resentment.  It  is  never  the  basis  of  increased  hap- 
piness, and  too  frequently  repeated  is  likely  to  call  forth 
a  demand  for  an  increase  in  wages  or  a  maid's  notice  of 
intention  to  quit.  Either  of  these  reactions  is  more  apt 
to  be  brought  about  in  Paris  by  a  failure  to  have  parties 
or  a  practice  of  having  even  too  few  of  them. 

Another  feature  of  this  buying  by  the  domestics  is  its 
real  economy.  The  French  cuisiniere  who  needs  a  bit  of 
onion  to  flavor  a  soup  will  buy  one  spring  onion,  and  the 
greengrocer  makes  no  objection  to  selling  it.  Or  she  may 
buy  one  button  from  a  bulb  of  garlic,  or  get  a  sprig  of 
parsley  the  size  of  a  teaspoon.  These  intimate  ingredients 
in  America  are  bought  by  the  bunch,  or  ten  cents'  worth 
in  the  minimum,  a  small  portion  of  them  used  and  the 
remainder  permitted  to  get  stale  and  be  thrown  out. 

Perhaps  it  was  an  appreciation  of  these  economies 
that  induced  us  to  bring  with  us  from  France,  when  we 
finally  came  back,  our  waitress,  Cecile.  Perhaps  it  was 
because  the  children  had  taken  a  liking  to  her  matronly 
attentions.  At  any  rate,  we  found  ourselves  installed 
with  Cecile  in  the  middle  distance  of  our  domestic  field 
at  East  Hampton  in  our  first  summer  after  our  return. 
The  cook  was  an  Irishwoman,  between  whose  tempera- 
ment and  Cecile's  there  seemed  to  be  no  friction  what- 
ever. The  up-stairs  maid  was  a  German  girl  whom  we 
had  brought  down  from  New  Rochelle.  She  spoke  no 
French  and  her  English  was  fragmentary.  Cecile  spoke 
and  understood  only  French. 

The  collision  between  these  representatives  from  the 
opposite  sides  of  the  distant  Rhine  occurred  in  our  pan- 
try on  a  busy  day  when  there  was  a  house-party  and 
some  additional  guests  from  the  East  Hampton  colony. 


I  never  got  all  the  merits  of  the  discussion,  but  I  remem- 
ber vividly  it  ended  by  Lizzie  hitting  Cecile  on  the  fore- 
head almost  between  the  eyes  with  a  raw  egg.  Cecile 
understood  the  raw  egg  and  declined  to  remove  any  of 
the  evidence  until  she  had  showed  herself  in  her  con- 
sequent plight  to  my  wife  and  me. 

Our  previous  experience  with  the  two  girls  was  suf- 
ficient to  tell  us  that  this  was  the  culmination,  and  after 
a  brisk  but  earnest  talk  on  the  back  porch  Lizzie  got  her 
valise  and  the  chauffeur  took  her  to  the  2.13  train.  When 
Cecile  learned  that  Lizzie  had  gone  she  came  into  the 
dining-room  and  demanded  to  know  if  madame  had  per- 
mitted rallemande  to  depart  "sans  que  je  sois  soulagee" — 
"without  me  being  soothed." 

This  end  of  the  hostilities,  with  no  treaty  as  to  repara- 
tions, wore  on  Cecile's  mind  and  she  soon  left  for  France. 
I  escorted  her  from  East  Hampton  one  hundred  and  one 
miles  to  New  York,  and  then  through  the  city  to  the 
steamer  Savoie.  On  the  way  I  interpreted  for  her  at 
four  or  five  shoe-stores,  in  each  of  which  she  indulged 
her  hope  to  find  a  pair  of  shoes  for  herself  with  la  nuance 
de  la  coupe  de  ceux  de  madame — the  shade  of  the  cut  of 
those  of  madame.  We  might  ultimately  have  found 
them  but  that  the  French  steamship  line  had  a  way  of 
refusing  to  hold  a  departing  boat  for  anybody. 

Disappointed  but  gaie,  Cecile  went  up  the  gangplank, 
which  trembled  like  the  drawbridge  under  the  famed 
flight  of  Marmion,  and  into  an  agitated  group  of  sailors 
whose  voluble  though  informal  but  competing  welcome 
promised  spirited  and  articulate  entertainment  for  the 
homeward  trip.  Perhaps  that  East  Hampton  egg  started 
Cecile  upon  discoveries  relatively  as  important  as  those 
following  the  one  Columbus  discussed  with  Isabella. 


Down  at  East  Hampton  for  the  summer,  one  of  our 
first  callers  in  the  woods  was  Mr.  John  Drew,  who 
motored  over  from  his  summer  home  near  the  dunes. 
The  talk  of  the  San  Francisco  earthquake  reminded  him 
of  a  letter  he  had  recently  received  from  his  nephew, 
Jack  Barrymore.  Jack  had  been  in  San  Francisco  the 
night  of  those  shocks  and  that  fire.  He  wrote  of  his  ex- 
periences briefly  but  dramatically.  Uncle  John  had  the 
letter.  At  the  first  shock  Jack  had  risen  from  his  bed 
at  the  Palace  Hotel.  Another  violent  lurch  had  thrown 
him  against  a  door,  which  had  given  way  and  let  him 
fall  upon  the  rim  of  the  bathtub,  hurting  his  side.  He 
soon  found  himself  in  the  street  with  an  ill-assorted  col- 
lection of  apparel.  The  next  day  he  met  the  other  mem- 
bers of  the  Willie  Collier  Company,  with  which  at  that 
time  he  was  playing.  He  and  the  other  men  of  the  com- 
pany were  taken  in  charge  by  the  military  and  forced 
to  help  clear  the  streets  by  piling  bricks. 

I  was  entirely  taken  up  with  the  dramatic  side  of  the 
description;  but  Uncle  John,  who  has  always  persisted 
in  a  comic  view  of  his  avuncular  possessions,  smiled  some- 
what sardonically  as  he  said:  "Yes,  it  took  a  convulsion 
of  Nature  to  get  him  into  a  bathtub  and  the  United 
States  Army  to  make  him  work." 

The  thought  of  John  Barrymore  as  a  supporting  mem- 
ber of  the  company  of  Willie  Collier,  then,  and  his  present 
stellar  position  in  the  public  esteem  is  indicative  of  the 
rapid  changes  always  at  work  and  perhaps  more  evident 
in  the  theatre  than  elsewhere.  Among  the  successes  of 
that  year  was  Fritzi  Scheff  in  "Mile.  Modiste,"  the  book 
by  Henry  Blossom  and  music  by  Victor  Herbert.  Fritzi 
Scheff  had  just  married  my  good  and  gentle  friend,  John 
Fox,  Jr.,  the  author  of  "A  Mountain  Europa,"  "The 


Kentuckians,"  "The  Little  Shepherd  of  Kingdom  Come," 
and  other  books.  At  the  Lyceum  Theatre  "The  Lion 
and  the  Mouse"  was  in  its  second  year.  "The  Music 
Master,"  with  David  Warfield,  was  playing  at  the  Bijou. 
Both  of  these  plays  were  written  by  Charles  Klein,  who 
sank  with  Charles  Frohman  on  the  Lusitania.  Klein 
was  notably  a  dramatizer  of  popular  themes.  His  art 
was  largely  the  newspaper  transferred  to  the  stage. 
"The  Lion  and  the  Mouse"  and  "The  Gamblers"  were 
each  a  theatrical  view  of  big  business,  and  "The  Third 
Degree"  was  a  presentation  of  the  police  methods  of  the 
time.  A  young  writer  claiming  attention  with  his  second 
play,  "The  Chorus  Lady,"  in  which  Rose  Stahl  was 
appearing  at  the  Garrick  Theatre,  was  James  Forbes,  now 
in  the  front  rank  of  his  profession  and  having  to  his 
credit  "The  Famous  Mrs.  Fair,"  in  many  respects  the 
best  of  all  the  post-war  plays.  Henry  Miller  and  Mar- 
garet Anglin  were  having  a  gratifying  success  in  William 
Vaughan  Moody's  play,  "The  Great  Divide,"  at  the  Prin- 
cess Theatre.  Henry  Arthur  Jones'  "Hypocrites"  was  at 
the  Hudson.  Eleanor  Robson  was  at  the  Liberty  Theatre 
in  "Nurse  Marjorie"  by  Israel  Zangwill,  who  had  had  a 
respectful  hearing  with  his  "Children  of  the  Ghetto," 
played  a  year  or  two  earlier.  John  Drew  was  playing 
Pinero's  sombre,  rectangular,  but  well-made  "His  House 
in  Order."  Marie  Cahill  was  starring  in  "Marrying 
Mary"  at  Daly's,  with  the  tuneful  score  by  Silvio  Hein. 
Alice  Hegan  Rice's  "Mrs.  Wiggs  of  the  Cabbage 
Patch,"  later  to  be  accepted  in  London  as  the  typical 
American  picture,  was  at  the  New  York  Theatre. 
Among  the  lighter  pieces  were  Hattie  Williams'  produc- 
tion of  "The  Little  Cherub,"  with  Ivan  Caryll's  music. 
Lillian  Russell  at  the  Savoy  in  "Barbara's  Millions,"  and 


Thomas  W.  Ross  at  Wallack's  in  George  Cohan's  "  Popu- 
larity." These,  with  two  or  three  other  offerings,  were 
the  theatrical  presentations  of  that  year. 

Writing  of  Klein  and  Blossom  and  Ivan  Caryll,  all  of 
whom  are  gone,  takes  my  mind  to  one  of  our  most  usual 
meeting-places,  the  anteroom  of  Charles  Frohman. 
Other  dramatists  whom  one  might  encounter  there  and 
who  are  now  with  the  majority  were  Henry  Guy  Carle- 
ton,  Harry  P.  Mawson,  the  gifted  Clyde  Fitch,  Paul 
Potter,  of  whom  I  have  written,  and  Haddon  Chambers, 
among  the  most  likable  of  all  the  English  dramatists. 
To-day,  in  trying  to  get  the  name  of  Mr.  Owen  Hall, 
who  had  written  the  book  of  "The  Little  Cherub,"  for 
which  Ivan  Caryll  furnished  the  music,  I  telephoned 
the  Empire  Theatre.  Peter  Mason,  the  colored  boy 
there  in  charge  of  the  manuscripts,  would  be  the  one  most 
likely  to  know.  I  couldn't  remember  the  Empire  Theatre 
when  I  hadn't  seen  Peter  there.  Peter  told  me  to-day 
that  he  has  been  in  this  playhouse  twenty-five  years. 
He  came  first  as  a  water  boy,  working  down-stairs.  Mr. 
Alf  Hayman  had  promoted  him  to  the  anteroom  on  the 
office  floor,  where  Charles  Frohman,  seeing  him,  had 
taken  him  on  his  personal  staff.  Frohman  always  had  a 
great  affection  for  him.  Everybody's  sympathy  for  Peter 
was  because  he  had  come  with  only  one  lung  from  a  hos- 
pital and  continued  to  have  occasional  hemorrhages. 
Everybody  around  the  theatre  spoke  of  him  with  pity. 
It  was  only  a  question  of  days  when  Peter  would  be  worn 
out.  He  might  drop  off  at  any  minute.  But  those  men 
who  took  such  an  apprehensive  interest  in  him,  stout 
Alf  Hayman  and  his  stouter  brother,  AI,  have  both  gone; 
Tommy  Shea,  the  energetic  young  Irishman,  for  so  many 
years  in  the  box-office,  is  dead;  Sam  Meyers,  ruddy  and 


i.  Sydney  Rosenfeld.     2.  General  George  Sheridan.     3.  William  Marion  Reedy.     4.  Cyril  Scott.     5.  Henry  Guy  Carleton. 
No.  3  is  by  Frederic  Remington.     Nos.  I,  2.  4,  and  5  are  by  Augustus  Thomas. 


genial  publicity  man  and  fixture  about  the  place,  one 
of  Peter's  patrons  and  sympathizers,  is  dead;  Frohman 
went  down  with  the  Lusitania;  none  of  the  old  force 
survives.  But  the  colored  boy,  Peter  Mason,  with  his 
one  lung,  is  still,  in  1922,  the  factotum  of  the  theatre. 

Soon  after  our  return  from  France  I  had  an  experi- 
ence which  was  important  to  me  and  which  may  have 
significance  for  people  engaged  in  writing  for  the  theatre. 
At  least  it  will  have  if  I  can  tell  it  in  a  way  that  will  con- 
vey my  own  attitude  toward  the  question  it  contains. 
Mr.  Belasco  had,  at  the  theatre  that  then  bore  his  name 
and  is  now  the  Republic,  a  drama  of  the  California  min- 
ing days  called  "The  Girl  of  the  Golden  West,"  in  which 
Miss  Blanche  Bates  was  featured.  The  story  of  this 
play,  if  I  may  indicate  it  by  simply  touching  its  struc- 
tural features,  is  of  a  Western  sheriff  somewhat  older 
than  a  girl  with  whom  he  is  in  love.  The  girl  is  his  su- 
perior in  social  quality.  Her  fancy  is  taken  by  a  more 
modern  and  modish  man,  a  newcomer  in  the  locality, 
who  turns  out  to  be  a  criminal.  It  is  the  sheriff's  duty 
to  arrest  him.  The  man  takes  refuge  in  the  house  of  the 
girl.  She  hides  him  and  when  the  sheriff  comes  denies 
any  knowledge  of  him.  The  sheriff  is  about  to  leave 
when  a  bit  of  evidence  attracts  his  attention  to  the  hid- 
ing-place; the  man  is  forced  to  come  forth;  the  sheriff, 
out  of  consideration  for  the  girl  and  contrary  to  his  duty, 
permits  him  to  escape. 

This  is  an  excellent  play,  full  of  color  of  the  epoch  that 
it  presents.  Some  of  my  friends  on  the  press  had  written 
to  me  that  it  was  manifestly  a  reproduction  of  my  play 
of  "In  Mizzoura,"  written  some  thirteen  years  before. 
The  story  of  "In  Mizzoura,"  again  telling  by  high  lights 
in  its  construction,  is  of  a  Western  sheriff  somewhat  older 


than  a  girl  with  whom  he  is  in  love.  The  girl  is  his  su- 
perior in  social  quality.  Her  fancy  is  taken  by  a  more 
modern  and  modish  man,  a  newcomer  in  the  locality,  who 
turns  out  to  be  a  criminal.  It  is  the  sheriff's  duty  to 
arrest  him.  The  man  takes  refuge  in  the  house  of  the 
girl.  She  hides  him  and  when  the  sheriff  comes  denies 
any  knowledge  of  him.  The  sheriff  is  about  to  leave 
when  a  bit  of  evidence  attracts  his  attention  to  the  hid- 
ing-place; the  man  is  forced  to  come  forth.  The  sheriff, 
out  of  consideration  for  the  girl  and  contrary  to  his  duty, 
permits  him  to  escape. 

These  identical  situations  in  that  perfect  sequence 
could  easily  have  been  cited  and  in  a  reasonable  court 
made  to  have  in  my  own  case  a  proprietary  claim.  But 
there  had  been  a  similar  experience,  somewhat  earlier 
and  with  an  equal  resemblance,  which  had  taught  me 
consideration.  My  play  of  "Arizona"  dealt  with  a  young 
army  officer  who,  trying  to  shield  a  woman,  placed  him- 
self liable  to  a  charge  of  theft.  He  resigned  from  the 
army,  went  West,  became  a  cowboy,  later  met  his  old 
enemy  of  the  earlier  days,  and  in  a  quarrel  with  him  the 
enemy  was  shot.  That  the  hero  had  not  killed  him  was 
proved  by  the  fatal  bullet  being  of  another  caliber  than 
that  of  the  hero's  gun,  and  he  was  acquitted.  Mr.  Edwin 
Milton  Royle  some  time  later  wrote  a  play  with  those 
relationships  and  that  sequence  of  events  which  he  called 
"The  Squaw  Man."  One  agent  and  one  manager  told 
me  that  upon  the  reading  of  it  they  had  declined  to  con- 
sider it,  feeling  that  it  too  closely  resembled  "Arizona." 

Now  I  happened  to  have  seen  Mr.  Royle's  play  when, 
so  to  speak,  it  was  in  the  cradle.  He  produced  at  the 
Lambs  Club  a  little  piece  in  which  an  Englishman  living 
with  a  squaw  wife  in  the  West  was  called  upon  by  a  so- 


licitor  from  London  who  came  for  the  purpose  of  telling 
him  that  he  had  inherited  a  title,  and,  although  he  cared 
nothing  for  it  himself,  it  properly  belonged  to  his  little 
half-breed  son,  whose  mother  was  the  squaw  wife.  The 
squaw  wife,  overhearing  and  understanding  enough  of 
this  to  know  that  she  was  standing  in  the  way  of  both 
the  husband  and  the  little  half-breed  boy  for  whom  title 
and  fortune  were  waiting  in  England,  killed  herself.  It 
was  a  tragic  one-act  play,  and  Mr.  Royle  was  advised 
by  everybody  to  elaborate  it  into  a  four-act  drama.  He 
was  obliged  thereupon  to  think  of  his  hero  leaving  Eng- 
land for  sufficient  reason,  which,  nevertheless,  should  be 
nothing  against  his  character;  and  by  the  dramatist's 
formula  he  had  him  leaving  for  the  sake  of  a  woman, 
and  had  him  leaving  under  a  cloud.  The  simplest  cloud 
for  an  army  officer  to  quit  under  was  a  charge  of  mis- 
appropriation of  funds,  and  in  the  Wild  West  relations 
that  followed  for  the  purpose  of  the  play  he  had  the  fight 
and  the  exculpation  of  the  hero  by  the  swift  and  simple 
evidence  of  a  bullet  not  fitting  his  gun. 

I  had  used  that  device  some  years  before  in  "Arizona." 
But  I  didn't  invent  it.  It  was  a  bit  of  material  evidence 
in  more  than  one  Western  inquest,  and  the  fact  of  fitting 
the  bullet  to  the  gun  of  a  man  accused  of  killing  was  one 
of  the  first  steps  in  legal  identification  familiar  to  every 
reporter.  And  Mr.  Royle  was  forced  into  the  construc- 
tion of  his  drama  by  most  natural  and  logical  sequences. 

When  Mr.  Belasco  wanted  to  write  Blanche  Bates 
into  a  mining-camp  a  sheriff  was  the  most  likely  lover; 
and  the  most  logical  rival,  in  order  to  establish  conflict, 
would  be  a  man  who  was  rival  not  only  in  the  affections 
of  the  girl  but  an  opponent  in  the  line  of  the  sheriff's 
duty;  that  would  make  him  a  criminal.  And  if  the  sheriff 


once  got  after  that  criminal  any  dramatist,  in  order  to 
hold  his  people  of  interest  together,  would  probably  think 
of  the  criminal  taking  refuge  in  the  home  of  the  girl.  If 
somebody  had  come  along  and  pointed  out  the  resem- 
blance of  these  situations  to  those  in  "In  Mizzoura,"  it 
would,  nevertheless,  have  been  Mr.  Belasco's  duty  to 
go  ahead  with  his  play  in  its  new  color  and  in  the  dialect 
of  its  epoch  and  write  his  story.  I  thought  he  had  done 
this  in  such  fine  fashion  that  I  regarded  his  play  as  a 
valuable  exhibit  of  how  the  mind  of  a  trained  dramatist 
works  when  once  given  a  strong  and  stimulating  sugges- 
tion to  start  back  from  and  build  a  sequence  of  events. 
I  speak  of  these  two  examples  because  the  theatre  is 
filled  with  their  like.  So  are  the  other  arts.  There  are 
five  notable  pictures  of  the  "Last  Supper"  by  painters 
of  the  Renaissance,  each  valuable  principally  because  it 
shows  the  temperament  of  the  artist  working  with  his 

The  courts  are  sometimes  burdened  with  questions  of 
this  kind,  and  it  takes  a  wise  judge  to  see  where  the  in- 
dividual right  ceases  and  the  common  right  in  an  idea 
begins.  I  remember  reading  that  some  Chicago  judge 
had  decided  upon  apparently  sufficient  evidence  that 
Francis  Bacon  had  written  the  plays  of  William  Shake- 
speare. A  Chicago  judge  decided  that  a  citizen  of  that 
place  had  given  Edmond  Rostand  the  idea  for  his  ro- 
mantic poetical  play,  "Cyrano  de  Bergerac,"  apparently 
oblivious  of  the  fact  that  Savinien  Cyrano  de  Bergerac, 
born  in  1620  at  the  chateau  of  that  name  in  Perigord, 
was  a  French  writer  and  duellist,  had  the  personal  idio- 
syncrasies that  were  the  identifying  marks  of  orginality 
in  the  work  of  the  Chicago  author;  had  himself  written 
plays  and  poems  and  had  already  suggested  by  his  life 


and  writings  "Micromegas,"  a  philosophic  romance  by 
Voltaire,  and  "Gulliver's  Travels"  by  Dean  Swift. 

A  year  or  two  later  than  the  time  of  which  I  am  writing 
I  was  called  as  an  expert  witness  in  a  suit  at  Washington, 
where  a  newspaper  man  somewhat  new  to  the  theatre 
was  suing  a  dramatist  who  had  never  seen  the  newspaper 
man's  libretto,  charging  that  the  second  libretto  was 
taken  from  it.  One  resemblance  was  that  both  books 
had  two  elderly  couples  and  two  juvenile  couples  in  love. 
The  judge  thought  this  not  so  important  when  it  was 
pointed  out  to  him  that  a  majority  of  operas,  especially 
comic  operas,  were  made  up  of  double  quartets.  It  was 
a  musical  rather  than  a  literary  requirement. 

At  a  risk  of  being  tiresome  on  the  subject,  let  me 
relate  an  instance  of  this  year  1922.  A  few  weeks  ago 
at  the  request  of  their  author  I  wrote  an  introduction 
to  four  little  plays  by  Mr.  Percy  Knight  that  are  to  be 
printed  in  a  single  volume.  One  of  those  plays  has  for 
its  subject  the  burial  of  the  unknown  soldier  in  London, 
and  deals  in  poetic  fashion  with  the  meeting  of  a  girl 
and  an  English  veteran  who  come  to  the  palings  of  the 
graveyard,  both  believing  that  they  knew  the  man. 
The  girl  has  brought  some  flowers  for  a  dead  sweetheart; 
the  soldier  is  morally  certain  that  the  unknown  was  his 

This  little  scene  had  been  played  in  one  of  the  Lambs' 
gambols.  At  a  more  recent  gambol  Mr.  Emmett  Corrigan 
had  a  sketch  which  I  did  not  see,  but  which  was  reported 
in  committee  as  being  a  dialogue  between  a  man  and 
wife  in  America  who  have  lost  a  son.  The  topic  is  the 
burial  of  the  unknown  soldier  at  Washington.  For  some 
reason  the  father  feels  that  the  unknown  boy  is  theirs, 
and  upon  the  breast  of  the  mother  whom  he  has  en- 


deavored  to  console  he  pins  a  star.  A  very  experienced 
and  indignant  dramatist  was  proposing  that  Mr.  Corrigan 
should  be  disciplined  for  this  appropriation  of  an  idea. 
When  asked  to  give  an  opinion  upon  the  propriety  of 
such  a  procedure  my  answer  was  that  the  unknown  sol- 
dier's official  burial  in  France  and  in  England  and  in 
America  was  for  the  very  purpose  of  honoring  all  un- 
identified and  giving  to  everybody  who  had  a  loved  one 
among  the  missing  the  faint  comfort  that  might  lie  in 
the  slight  belief  that  the  unknown  was  his  or  her  missing 
boy.  Poems  had  been  written  about  it,  and  thousands 
of  editorials  and  thousands  of  patriotic  and  memorial 
speeches  had  been  made  on  the  theme.  The  wonder 
was  not  that  an  English  playwright  and  another  Ameri- 
can playwright  should  have  chosen  the  subject  but  that 
hundreds  had  not  done  so. 

There  are  so  many  starting-points  for  writing  plays 
that  if  one  were  to  name  all  of  them  it  would  be  a  real 
draft  on  attention.  A  good  play  is  a  completed  thing, 
with  a  beginning,  a  middle,  and  an  end,  and  should  make 
some  disposition  of  the  considerations  it  raises  and  pre- 
sents. Along  this  trajectory,  this  line  of  travel  which 
would  be  rather  improperly  but  most  effectively  dia- 
gramed by  a  circle,  one  can  take  almost  any  of  its  three 
hundred  and  sixtv  degrees  as  a  starting-point. 

I  have  written  in  these  chapters  of  beginning  a  play 
with  only  the  actor,  Mr.  Nat  Goodwin,  in  mind;  getting 
a  character  that  would  fit  him,  a  set  of  circumstances  in 
which  the  character  would  be  put,  and  a  series  of  situa- 
tions through  which  he  would  pass  in  that  environment. 
I  have  suggested  somewhat  of  the  same  process  in  speak- 
ing of  "Pawtucket"  for  D'Orsay.  Earlier  I  wrote  of 
"The  Burglar,"  made  from  Mrs.  Burnett's  story,  in 


which  the  burglar  is  confronted  by  the  ingenuousness 
of  a  child.  By  making  that  child  his  own  daughter  the 
meeting  itself  became  a  situation,  which  is  another  way 
of  starting  a  play. 

Sometimes  one  takes  a  theme,  a  question  acceptable 
in  the  public  mind,  and  by  making  it  articulate,  and 
selecting  characters  expressive  of  it  and  affected  by  it, 
uses  the  theme  as  his  starting-point.  Often  the  dram- 
atist takes  a  story  ready-made  but  in  narrative  form, 
as  was  "The  Soldiers  of  Fortune,"  by  Richard  Harding 
Davis,  eliminates  the  descriptions,  arranges  its  dramatic 
situations  in  proper  sequence  and  crescendo,  supplies 
what  other  situations  are  needed,  puts  the  whole  expres- 
sion into  dialogue,  and  thereby  achieves  his  play. 

There  have  been  many  pictures  that  have  inspired 
plays.  In  one  of  the  Paris  salons  of  the  early  yo's  there 
was  a  canvas  showing  a  wrecked  boudoir  in  a  chateau 
in  which  a  band  of  vandal  German  officers  were  carous- 
ing. Paul  Potter  took  that  as  the  inspiration  for  one  of 
his  acts  in  "The  Conquerors."  When  Maurice  Barry- 
more  dramatized  somebody's  novel  of  "Roaring  Dick" 
he  made  a  stage  setting  and  a  situation  from  another 
salon  picture  called  "The  Wolf  in  the  Sheep  fold,"  which 
showed  a  bland  and  unsuspecting  husband  introducing 
to  his  wife  a  lady-killing  officer  in  uniform.  The  group 
was  on  a  portico  shaded  by  a  large  Japanese  umbrella. 

I  have  an  impression  that  some  of  Hogarth's  "  Rake's 
Progress"  got  into  plays.  But  I  don't  recall  any  com- 
plete series  of  pictures  used  as  the  skeleton  for  a  full 
evening's  play  with  the  exception  of  Charles  Dana  Gib- 
son's "Education  of  Mr.  Pipp."  That  was  a  set  of  two- 
page  cartoons  satirizing  the  little  accidental,  limited,  un- 
assertive American  nouveau  millionaire  and  his  large, 


aggressive,  dominant,  and  overriding  wife  and  the  off- 
spring of  this  counterbalancing  mixture,  two  lovely 
daughters.  The  daughters  were  the  first  of  the  famous 
Gibson  girls  of  the  middle  90*8,  with  the  crowning  puffed- 
and-pompadoured  hair,  long  necks,  the  stately  bearing, 
and  the  royally  draped  costumes.  When  Gibson  had 
made  one  or  two  of  these  pictures  their  reception  created 
a  demand,  and  he  was  obliged  to  show  his  family  of  Pipps 
in  various  situations  and  with  occasional  new  acquaint- 
ances. When  he  had  exhausted  the  round  of  fashionable 
entertainments  in  America  and  the  stories  had  still  to  go 
on  he  carried  the  Pipp  family  to  England,  where  their 
money  got  them  into  the  fringe  of  the  nobility,  and  later 
took  them  to  Paris,  where  they  were  most  unmercifully 
fleeced  and  imposed  upon. 

Without  setting  up  to  be  the  supreme  court  on  mat- 
ters artistic  in  America,  I  will  venture  the  opinion  that 
Charles  Dana  Gibson  is  our  most  gifted  and  accomplished 
illustrator.  There  is  a  generation  of  young  men  that 
have  followed  and  learned  from  him,  and  many  of  these 
have  each  an  individual  touch  quite  as  agreeable  in  its 
way  as  the  technic  of  Gibson.  Some  of  them  have  his 
vigor  of  line  and  precision  of  execution;  some  have  his 
understanding  of  character  and  his  capacity  to  interpret 
it.  But  I  know  of  none  who  has  all  these  qualities,  nor 
in  Gibson's  degree.  Nor  do  I  think  of  one  that  has  his 
wide  and  deep  understanding  of  the  human  family. 

In  the  old  New  Rochelle  days  there  used  to  hang  over 
Fred  Remington's  buffet  in  the  dining-room  of  his  home 
on  Webster  Avenue  an  original  drawing  of  Gibson's  on 
a  card  eighteen  by  twenty-four  inches.  This  had  served 
as  the  original  for  a  reduction  in  an  early  number  of  Life. 
In  it  two  men  stand  at  a  sideboard.  The  host  is  a  white- 


haired,  white-mustached,  amiable,  high-bred,  cultured, 
sesthetical-appearing  person,  slightly  less  than  at  his  best 
at  his  apparent  age  of  sixty  because  of  his  concession  to 
a  convivial  temperament.  He  is  well  nourished  but  not 
overfed,  twinkling,  tolerant,  human.  He  still  holds  a 
decanter  from  which  he  has  just  filled  his  own  glass,  and 
is  directing  his  attention  to  his  guest,  who  holds  a  glass 
of  port.  The  guest  is  a  Protestant  bishop  in  the  black 
cloth  and  neckerchief  of  his  kind,  rotund,  sleek,  artificial, 
uncertain,  dissembling,  sanctimonious,  gluttonous,  ap- 
prehensive. One  man  is  so  manifestly  the  host  radiating 
cheer  and  the  other  the  occasional  guest  surreptitiously 
accepting  a  prohibited  but  habitual  ration  that  it  is  a 
delight  to  look  at  the  drawing  and  see  these  character- 
istics which  the  master  draftsman  has  understood,  de- 
duced, set  down,  and  communicated  with  the  magic  of 
a  few  strokes  of  the  pen. 

To  Remington  himself,  endeavoring  character  por- 
trayal with  no  such  subtlety,  and  to  a  man  writing  for 
the  theatre  who  would  have  needed  a  scene  of  fifteen 
minutes,  to  communicate  all  that  Gibson  put  into  his 
single  sketch,  the  drawing  was  a  never-diminishing  de- 
light. In  Gibson's  character  sketches  of  the  Pipp  family, 
and  the  friends  and  satellites  that  they  attracted,  there 
were  exponents  of  every  fine  and  nearly  every  despicable 
emotion;  not  only  the  broader  Hogarthian  elemental 
passions  but  the  very  shades  and  nuances  into  which 
any  psychological  spectrum  could  dissolve  them. 

It  seemed  to  me  that  to  translate  these  visible  expres- 
sions into  words,  not  the  descriptive  and  narrative  array 
that  would  make  a  novel  but  the  etched  and  vital  kind 
that  would  put  them  into  a  play,  would  be  agreeable 
employment.  Nothing  that  I  remember  writing  was 


more  fun  to  do.  The  three-act  comedy  followed  closely 
the  vicissitudes  of  the  Pipp  family  as  set  down  by  Gibson. 
That  experienced  comedian,  the  late  Digby  Bell,  gave  a 
faithful  and  understanding  interpretation  of  Pipp,  and 
the  other  characters  of  Gibson  were  closely  realized  by 
the  men  and  women  that  manager  Kirke  La  Shelle  was 
able  to  find  in  the  profession.  Of  course,  the  strong  char- 
acter parts  more  nearly  realized  the  pictures.  Two  such 
goddesses  as  we  needed  to  impersonate  the  Gibson  girl 
and  that  long,  rangy,  athletic  type  of  young  man  that 
Gibson  popularized  at  that  time  were  harder  to  find. 
The  young  men  existed  plentifully  enough  in  America, 
but  they  were  in  the  engineering  camps  and  on  the  fron- 
tiers and  directing  great  enterprises  and  not  learning 
lines  in  the  theatre.  The  Gibson  girls  were  also  other- 
wise employed,  and  not  numerously  in  the  theatre  or 
the  agencies.  We  were  fortunate,  however,  in  Janet 
Beecher,  then  an  unknown  ingenue,  and  Miss  Marion 
Draughn  for  the  girls.  We  had  an  ideal  Mrs.  Pipp,  a 
sterling  actress  by  the  name  of  Mrs.  Eugene  Jepson. 
Gibson's  heroic  young  men  were  well  realized  by  Robert 
Warwick,  then  playing  his  first  engagement  in  America 
after  a  fine  tutelage  in  France,  and  by  Mr.  Frederick 
Courtenay,  younger  and  taller  than  his  talented  brother, 
William  Courtenay,  still  prominently  in  the  public  eye. 
The  rest  of  the  cast,  though  actors  then  and  now  less 
prominent  than  those  named,  were  adequate. 

Mr.  Nat  Goodwin  at  that  time  was  living  with  his 
third  wife,  Maxine  Elliott,  in  a  house  on  Riverside  Drive. 
Miss  Elliott,  who  had  a  sense  of  the  artistic,  had  're- 
modelled this  little  house  by  taking  out  the  partition 
which  divided  its  narrow  drawing-room  from  the  hall- 
way, throwing  all  into  one  apartment,  with  the  staircase 


frankly  mounting,  English  fashion,  to  the  next  story, 
and  a  corresponding  staircase  under  this  descending 
from  the  parlor  level  to  the  street.  This,  adopted  for 
Pipp,  made  a  most  amusing  set,  the  only  one  of  its  kind 
I  ever  saw  in  the  theatre. 

I  am  tempted  here  to  tell  a  little  comicality  of  Nat's. 
We  were  alone  in  the  parlor.  I  was  admiring  a  pretty 
landscape  on  the  wall,  a  canvas  some  fifteen  by  eighteen 
inches,  then  the  property  of  the  third  Mrs.  Goodwin, 
as  it  had  formerly  been  the  property  of  the  second  Mrs. 

As  I  expressed  my  admiration  Nat  said  with  the  little 
stutter  which  he  protectively  assumed  when  he  wanted 
to  advertise  a  comic  utterance:  "Yes,  that  p-p-picture 
cost  me  thirty-five  hundred  dollars." 

"Really?"     It  looked  good,  but  not  worth  all  that. 

Nat  continued,  "Yes.  Th-th-thirty-five  hundred  dol- 
lars— two  thousand  the  first  time  I  bought  it  and  fifteen 
hundred  the  second." 

In  the  part  of  Mr.  Pipp,  Bell,  with  his  excellent  sup- 
port, was  a  success.  He  played  the  piece  that  season 
and  the  better  part  of  the  two  years  that  followed. 

In  four  years  I  had  written  in  fairly  close  succession 
the  comedies,  "The  Earl  of  Pawtucket,"  "The  Educa- 
tion of  Mr.  Pipp,"  "The  Other  Girl,"  "Mrs.  Leffingwell's 
Boots,"  "The  Embassy  Ball,"  and  "De  Lancey."  I  felt 
a  real  inclination  to  try  something  more  serious.  Among 
my  papers  was  the  little  one-act  play,  "A  Constitutional 
Point,"  made  in  1890  for  Mr.  Palmer.  Shortly  after 
that  year,  perhaps  in  '92  or  '93,  my  neighbor  at  New 
Rochelle,  the  late  Henry  Loomis  Nelson,  showed  me  a 
letter  from  Mark  Twain  refusing  to  write  a  short  story 
for  Harper's  because  Mark  Twain  had  found  "that  a 

short  story  was  a  novel  in  the  cradle,  which,  if  taken  out 
and  occasionally  fondled,  would  grow  into  a  full-sized 
book."  Partly  on  that  hint,  my  one-act  play  was  occa- 
sionally taken  from  its  cradle  and  caressed.  Mr.  Palmer 
had  refused  the  play  because  there  is  a  maxim  in  the 
theatre  that  no  material  is  useful  there  until  it  has  served 
as  subject-matter  for  all  other  literary  forms  and  been 
made  familiar  to  the  public  through  poetry,  fiction,  lec- 
tures, and  reportorial  and  editorial  comment. 


During  the  years  since  1890  there  had  been  an  increas- 
ing public  interest  in  telepathy,  and  the  public's  informa- 
tion had  grown.  In  my  own  mind  my  playlet  had  also 
grown  and  was  now  a  four-act  play.  Before  wasting 
time  on  its  actual  writing,  however,  I  accepted  a  chance 
to  have  the  one-act  piece  played  to  a  private  audience 
of  some  two  hundred  men  in  the  Lambs  Club;  and  as 
the  little  play  contained  what  was  most  diaphanous  and 
attenuated  in  the  whole  story,  if  such  an  audience,  en- 
tirely lacking  the  feminine  element,  would  accept  the 
fable,  the  remainder  of  the  venture  would  be  up  to  the 
skill  of  the  dramatist.  In  the  club,  with  the  late  Edward 
Abeles  playing  the  woman's  part  and  Forrest  Robinson 
playing  the  part  of  the  old  judge,  the  little  piece  made 
a  decided  impression. 

I  have  said  earlier,  I  think  when  talking  of  Mr.  Paul 
Potter,  that  plays  are  constructed  backward.  Paul 
Potter  was  the  first  person  to  bring  that  to  my  attention. 
The  playwright  doesn't  take  his  pen  in  hand  and  begin 
placidly  to  write  dialogue  which  develops  without  his 
intention  into  something  dramatic.  He  starts  with  a 
dramatic  situation  which  has  a  possibility  in  the  theatre 
of  some  strong  effect  and  tries  to  find  for  that  the  imme- 
diate cause,  and  for  that  cause  one  still  further  back  in 
origin,  and  it  is  in  that  fashion  that  his  construction 
grows.  Very  often  this  effect,  which  is  the  starting-point 



in  the  development  of  a  story,  can  be  expressed  in  one 
act,  and  it  is  not  uncommon  for  a  playwright  to  try  out 
his  idea  in  tabloid  shape.  If  it  has  sufficient  fibre  and 
power  to  make  a  big  scene  of  the  play  he  may  then  de- 
velop it.  Denman  Thompson's  "Old  Homestead"  be- 
gan in  that  shape.  "Muldoon's  Picnic"  was  once  a  one- 
act  vaudeville  skit.  Mr.  Royle's  "The  Squaw  Man," 
as  told  earlier,  was  done  at  the  Lambs  as  a  sketch.  So 
was  John  Willard's  "The  Cat  and  the  Canary,"  one  of 
the  reigning  successes  of  1922.  My  own  plays,  "The 
Burglar,"  "Alabama,"  "The  Harvest  Moon,"  "As  a 
Man  Thinks,"  "Rio  Grande,"  and  "The  Copperhead" 
were  each  at  first  one  act. 

The  one-act  play,  "A  Constitutional  Point,"  had  grown 
out  of  my  experiences  with  Bishop,  the  thought-reader, 
of  whom  I  have  written  in  an  earlier  chapter.  Bishop 
was  so  constituted  that  by  throwing  himself  into  a  re- 
ceptive condition,  which  he  called  autohypnotic,  he  was 
impressed  by  thoughts  of  other  people.  He  didn't  see 
these  thoughts  as  words,  but  as  pictures,  unless  the 
thought  was  about  a  word  in  a  book,  when  his  percept 
would,  of  course,  be  that  particular  typed  word  and  the 
surrounding  print  on  its  page.  This  power  had  come 
to  be  called  telepathy.  Oliver  Wendell  Holmes  had  writ- 
ten concerning  it  in  his  "Autocrat  of  the  Breakfast 
Table,"  except  that  he  called  it  cerebricity.  Somewhat 
later  Mark  Twain,  writing  of  his  personal  experiences 
in  association  with  its  phenomena,  had  referred  to  it  as 
mental  telegraphy.  Doctor  Thomas  Hudson,  in  1893, 
published  his  "The  Law  of  Psychic  Phenomena,"  the 
first  of  a  series  of  five  books  on  telepathy  and  related 
subjects.  In  one  of  these,  in  making  an  argument  for 
immortality,  he  raises  the  question  whether  telepathy 


might  not  be  a  means  of  communication  between  a  dis- 
embodied entity,  or  spirit,  as  commonly  called,  and  a 
person  still  living.  I  think  it  was  this  hint  that  brought 
to  my  mind  "A  Newport  Legend,"  the  poem  by  Bret 
Harte,  about  an  old  house  at  Newport,  haunted.  A 
young  girl  in  the  colonial  days  died  of  a  broken  heart 
in  this  house.  It  seems  that  her  sweetheart  sailed  away 
and  left  her.  Bret  Harte  tells  of  her  coming  back: 

"And  ever  since  then  when  the  clock  strikes  two, 

She  walks  unbidden  from  room  to  room, 
And  the  air  is  filled,  that  she  passes  through, 
With  a  subtle,  sad  perfume. 

The  delicate  odor  of  mignonette, 

The  ghost  of  a  dead-and-gone  bouquet, 

Is  all  that  tells  of  her  story;  yet 
Could  she  think  of  a  sweeter  way  ? " 

The  poet's  way  of  suggesting  the  idea  is  so  much  more 
acceptable  than  a  scientific  one  that  I  used  those  two 
verses,  which  an  old  judge  reads  to  another,  as  my  way 
to  introduce  the  subject,  and  just  after  the  reading  had 
him  say: 

"Beautiful  to  have  a  perfume  suggest  her.  I  suppose 
it  appeals  to  me  especially  because  I  used  to  know  a  girl 
who  was  foolishly  fond  of  mignonette." 

So  that  when  the  daughter  of  the  judge's  old  sweet- 
heart comes  to  talk  about  her  mother  and  brings  a  for- 
gotten letter  of  the  judge's  from  among  the  time-stained 
papers  that  the  mother  left  it  seems  to  him  somewhat 
more  than  coincidence;  and  when  the  daughter  has  gone, 
after  a  pathetic  appeal  for  her  son,  who  is  under  sentence 
of  death,  and  the  old  judge,  alone,  gets  from  the  old  let- 
ter the  remembered  odor  of  mignonette,  the  Bret  Harte 


lines  come  back  to  him,  and  he  fancies  there  has  been 
an  influence  upon  him  from  the  other  side  of  the  grave. 
This  little  act  I  decided  to  make  the  second  and  not 
the  third  act  of  a  four-act  play,  because,  moving  as  it 
had  been  to  the  audience  when  it  was  tried  in  its  detached 
presentation,  I  felt  there  should  be  something  more  posi- 
tively dramatic  as  a  climax  for  a  play.  Casting  about 
for  that,  I  encountered  the  subject  of  hypnotism.  Telep- 
athy and  hypnotism  are  not  especially  related,  except 
that  telepathic  communication  is  clearer  under  hypnosis. 
While  Hudson  and  others  had  been  writing  of  telepathy 
and  of  the  therapeutic  value  of  suggestion  to  hypnotized 
patients,  a  religious  and  ethical  opposition  to  the  prac- 
tice had  found  expression  in  some  notable  protests.  One 
of  these,  written  in  a  tone  of  warning  and  with  a  claim 
to  esoteric  knowledge,  called  an  act  of  hypnotism  a  great 
psychological  crime.  It  implied  that  the  hypnotist,  once 
in  control  of  the  thought  of  his  subject,  was  never  freed 
of  that  connecting  bond  and  that  both  individuals  passed 
into  eternity  held  together  by  it.  This  was  a  little  deep 
and  somewhat  terrorizing  for  my  use  in  the  play,  but  I 
thought  I'd  be  on  safe  ground  in  suggesting  that  the  force 
was  not  a  very  good  one  for  the  layman  to  play  with. 
In  thinking  also  of  telepathic  influence,  the  control  of 
the  thought  as  well  as  the  will  of  another  presented  an 
equal  responsibility.  I  therefore  made  these  two  ethical 
considerations  the  theme  and  overtone  of  what  I  was 
projecting.  The  result  of  that,  not  to  bore  a  lay  reader 
with  technical  considerations  of  a  playwright,  was  to 
give  me  a  rather  fine  old  character  in  sympathy  with 
my  contentions  and  a  vigorous  and  indifferent  one  op- 
posed to  him  and  to  convince  whom  would  be  the  busi- 
ness of  the  play.  I  therefore  had  theme,  definite  direc- 


tion  and  some  situations.  Despite  the  fact  that  I  had 
been  thinking  and  reading  and  having  experiences  in 
these  subjects  for  something  like  eighteen  years  since 
my  trip  with  Bishop,  I  spent  another  year  getting  help- 
ful information  from  professional  hypnotists  and  clair- 
voyants. I  speak  of  the  time  thus  spent  on  this  play  in 
contrast  to  some  of  the  hasty  efforts  like  "Mrs.  Leffing- 
well's  Boots."  -Perhaps  there  is  a  commensurate  differ- 
ence in  the  calibers. 

When  the  play  was  done  I  read  it  to  Charles  Frohman. 
Nobody  could  have  less  scientific  information  on  the 
subjects  than  he  had,  and  his  reception  of  it  would  be  a 
fair  indication  of  what  an  average  audience  might  do. 
The  reading  was  under  rather  test  conditions  too.  The 
night  was  oppressively  warm.  C.  F.  was  in  his  apart- 
ment, then  on  the  top  floor  of  Sherry's  old  building, 
Forty-fourth  Street  and  Fifth  Avenue,  now  remodelled 
into  business  offices.  He  had  on  a  cotton  shirt  and  a  pair 
of  trousers.  He  sat  cross-legged  in  a  big  leather  chair. 
As  I  finished  each  act  his  only  comment  was,  "Go  on." 
At  the  conclusion  of  the  play  there  was  a  wait  that  filled 
me  with  apprehension. 

At  length  he  said:  "That's  almost  too  beautiful  to 

The  language  was  so  unlike  C.  F. — in  fact,  the  idea  was 
so  unlike  him — that  I  thought  for  a  moment  there  was 
mockery  about  it.  But  he  was  in  earnest. 

He  added:   "When  shall  we  do  it?" 

We  discussed  and  decided  upon  the  men  and  women 
we  would  like  for  the  company,  and  I  left  in  an  elated 
mood.  I  saw  him  again  the  next  day  to  talk  production. 
His  enthusiasm  for  the  play  had  not  subsided.  A  week 
later  he  sent  for  me,  We  met  in  his  office,  in  the  Empire 


Theatre  Building.  He  was  embarrassed  and  unhappy, 
as  he  had  to  tell  me  that  he  had  changed  his  mind  about 
the  piece.  He  had  given  the  script  to  his  brother,  Daniel 
Frohman,  to  read,  and  Daniel  had  told  him  that  the 
author  of  the  play  was  evidently  crazy.  It  was  as  im- 
possible for  me  to  argue  the  point  with  C.  F.  as  it  would 
have  been  for  one  to  lift  himself  by  his  boot-straps.  A 
crazy  man  can't  act  as  both  his  own  alienist  and  attorney 
without  being  an  unattractive  client.  I  met  Daniel  Froh- 
man a  day  later.  In  the  friendliest  way  he  answered: 

"Yes,  I  did  say  that.  But  I  meant,  of  course,  only 
in  the  treatment  of  that  subject.  Forget  it,  Gus;  go  out 
West  and  give  us  one  of  your  wholesome  'Arizonas." 

I  never  blamed  Daniel  Frohman  for  this  opinion  or 
thought  less  of  his  general  judgment.  Except  to  one 
who  has  made  a  study  of  the  subjects  of  telepathy  or 
hypnotism,  all  that  can  be  said  about  them  sounds  in- 
vented and  unreal.  That  Charles  Frohman  accepted 
them  I  think  grew  out  of  hearing  the  play,  and  his  judg- 
ment would  have  been  the  same  as  Daniel's  if  he  had 
only  read  the  text  and  not  seen  it  partly  dramatized, 
as  every  author  unconsciously  does  dramatize  his  own 
work  when  reading  it. 

Frohman  was  a  most  delightful  manager  to  talk  terms 
to.  His  method  was  simply  to  ask,  "What  do  you 
want?"  In  my  own  experience  I  never  heard  him  say, 
"We  can't  give  it."  It  was  after  many  years  that  I  sug- 
gested terms  which  included  an  interest  in  the  profits, 
and  as  he  conceded  these  he  smilingly  added,  "I  have 
been  wondering  why  you  didn't  ask  for  a  share  a  long 
time  ago."  Somebody  had  told  him  something  of  space 
rates  and  the  money  that  prominent  authors  had  got 
per  word  for  their  product  from  publishers.  With  his 


keen  sense  of  values,  he  was,  of  course,  amused  by  the 
story  that  at  one  time  Tennyson  had  received  a  pound 
a  word  on  his  poems.  This  may  or  may  not  be  a  fact, 
but  Frohman  took  it  seriously. 

"And  what  do  you  think,"  he  asked,  "was  the  first 
poem  he  wrote  after  he  touched  the  five-dollar  rate? 
Think  of  it,  five  dollars  a  word !  Well,  here  it  is : 

"'What  does  little  birdie  say, 
Singing,  singing  all  the  day? 
Singing,  singing  all  the  day, 
What  does  little  birdie  say?'" 

Charley  thought  it  was  pretty  shrewd  of  the  laureate 
to  go  down  the  line  with  these  little  words  one  way;  but 
to  make  a  round  trip,  collecting  five  dollars  every  jump, 
was  just  too  hilarious.  This  may  not  be  an  accurate 
quotation  of  the  verse,  but  it  was  the  C.  F.  version. 

My  experience  with  Charles  Frohman  as  an  auditor 
made  me  believe  that  Mr.  Lee  Shubert,  who  perhaps 
had  no  more  book  knowledge  of  the  subject  or  actual 
experience  with  it  than  C.  F.,  might  find  in  it  a  layman's 
equal  interest.  This  proved  to  be  the  case.  Before  I 
read  him  the  play  I  was  careful  to  tell  him  its  history — 
Mr.  Palmer's  uneasiness  about  the  subject,  Mr.  Froh- 
man's  enthusiasm  for  it,  and  then  the  change  of  mind. 
To  tell  all  about  a  play  when  one  takes  it  to  a  manager 
is  a  good  practice.  It  may  be  a  little  hard  on  a  rejected 
manuscript  at  first,  but  when  the  managers  come  to 
understand  that  you  are  withholding  nothing  from  them 
your  statements  acquire  a  value  that  outweighs  the  slight 
disadvantage  in  the  history  of  any  manuscript.  If  I 
were  presuming  to  advise  younger  dramatists  about  the 
conduct  of  their  business  I  think  this  is  one  of  the  points 


I  would  emphasize.  The  manager  ultimately  learns  the 
history  of  the  play.  If  it  is  a  failure  some  other  man 
tells  him  he  had  read  it  and  thought  it  would  fail,  or  if 
it  is  a  success  the  other  man  boasts  that  he  might  have 
had  it.  Any  attempt  at  secrecy  gains  for  the  author  only 
the  unenviable  record  of  disingenuousness.  Mr.  Shubert 
had  the  same  sympathetic  reception  for  the  play  that 
C.  F.  had  had,  and  acting  upon  his  decision  immediately 
turned  over  its  production  to  me.  I  don't  think  he  heard 
any  of  it  again  until  it  was  up  to  its  dress  rehearsals. 

In  discussing  the  cast,  Charles  Frohman  and  I  had 
agreed  upon  John  Mason  as  the  central  character  for 
"The  Witching  Hour,"  and  it  was  not  difficult  to  per- 
suade Mr.  Shubert  to  this  when  the  play  was  carried  to 
him.  Mason  at  that  time  was  under  contract  with  Mr. 
Harrison  Grey  Fiske,  who  generously  released  him  to  us. 
To  those  who  knew  John  Mason's  work  nothing  need 
be  said  in  description  of  his  art.  To  those  who  know  only 
his  reputation  and  have  never  seen  him  play,  one  may 
say  that  he  was  one  of  the  best  actors  that  America  ever 
produced.  To  begin  with,  he  was  a  man  of  great  intel- 
ligence, and  in  the  field  of  mathematics  he  had  a  talent 
that  amounted  to  genius.  I  never  saw  any  work  to  justify 
that  statement,  but  several  men  have  told  me  of  his 
ability  mentally  to  calculate  sums  and  fractions  and 
other  problems  in  arithmetic  that  the  ordinary  man  could 
do  only  laboriously  with  pencil. 

As  an  actor  his  power  lay  in  his  great  self-possession 
and  a  wonderful  sense  of  time,  which  showed  in  his  read- 
ing. He  had  the  ability  to  put  into  a  pause  all  the  mean- 
ing that  was  carried  in  its  context  and  somewhat  more. 
His  voice  was  deep  and  resonant,  modulated  and  trained. 
He  had  that  other  great-actor  quality  of  being  able  to 
listen  on  the  stage  and  give  his  attention  to  another 


speaker;  and  in  his  dramatic  work — I  speak  of  that  in 
contradistinction  to  his  performances  in  opera,  for  which 
he  was  well  known — he  never  showed  a  consciousness  of 
his  audience.  Add  to  these  qualities  a  fine  sense  of  value 
of  gesture,  a  wise  restraint  and  very  sparing  use  of  which 
made  every  motion  significant,  then  a  physical  relaxa- 
tion that  robbed  everything  he  did  of  any  seeming  pose, 
although  to  a  person  trained  in  the  theatre  it  was  evi- 
dent he  knew  the  value  of  every  position,  and  you  have 
some  considerations  on  which  to  base  an  understanding 
of  his  equipment  as  actor,  and  perhaps  of  some  of  his 
effects.  The  part  of  Jack  Brookfield  in  the  play  was  that 
of  a  gambler  whose  education  was  above  the  stratum 
into  which  his  business  threw  him  socially.  Mason's 
speech  and  carriage  secured  that  impression.  To  seem 
less  than  socially  superior  would  have  been  an  assump- 
tion. The  gambler  was  supposed  to  be  a  dominant  figure 
in  personal  affairs,  will-power.  Mason  conveyed  that 
idea  also. 

I  don't  remember  any  consultation  with  Mr.  Shubert 
about  any  players.  They  must  have  been  sent  to  him 
on  the  question  of  their  salaries,  but  otherwise  the  wishes 
of  the  author  were  unopposed.  I  think  it  was  John  Mason 
who  suggested  the  engagement  of  Russ  Whytal  for  the 
old  justice  in  the  play.  I  have  an  idea  that  Whytal  is 
not  so  well  known  throughout  the  country  as  some  other 
men  of  less  ability  and  less  real  prominence.  Mr.  Whytal 
is  himself  a  dramatic  author.  Some  years  ago  his  play, 
"For  Fair  Virginia,"  was  a  reigning  success.  I  can't 
think  of  a  man  on  either  side  of  the  Atlantic  who  would 
have  filled  more  completely  the  part  of  Justice  Prentiss 
than  Mr.  Whytal  did  with  his  fine,  sympathetic  under- 
standing of  what  the  character  stood  for. 

For  the  heavy  man,  a  district  attorney,  we  were  able 


to  get  George  Nash.  I  had  known  Nash  ever  since  he 
had  been  in  the  profession,  some  eighteen  or  twenty  years 
before  that  time.  He  had  played  for  me  in  "New  Blood,'* 
"On  the  Quiet,"  "Arizona,"  and  other  pieces,  and  has 
about  as  sure  a  knowledge  of  effect  as  any  man  on  the 

William  Sampson,  who  played  the  comedy  part,  an 
almost  dissolute  and  altogether  unmoral  old  professional 
gambler,  gray-haired  and  white-mustached,  comes  very 
near  being  our  best  American  character  comedian.  He 
is  as  much  like  the  late  James  Lewis,  of  Daly's,  in  method 
as  one  man  can  be  like  another.  With  him,  Whytal,  and 
Nash  supporting  Mason,  we  had  a  quartet  that  would 
have  carried  any  reasonable  material  to  success. 

I  have  written  before  once  or  twice  in  these  pages  of 
coincidences  occurring  during  their  writing.  These  have 
not  been  remarkable,  but  they  have  been  arresting,  and 
their  accent  has  perhaps  for  a  moment  interrupted  the 
monotony  of  our  march. 

This  above  paragraph  about  William  Sampson  I  dic- 
tated at  the  end  of  a  session  in  the  afternoon  of  April  5, 
1922,  and  then,  as  I  try  to  do  after  a  day's  work,  went 
for  a  walk.  On  the  wall  just  inside  the  door  of  the  Lambs 
Club,  in  the  usual  place  for  such  communications,  was 
pinned  a  usual  subscription  paper,  with  some  fifty  or 
sixty  signatures  to  it  under  the  caption,  "Flowers  for 
William  Sampson."  It  was  a  shock  to  learn  that  he  had 
passed  away  suddenly  the  night  before.  I  can  add  to 
the  paragraph  only  the  record  of  my  deep  affection  for 
him  and  my  esteem  as  man  and  artist. 

In  our  first  cast  of  "The  Witching  Hour"  we  were 
assisted  also  by  the  sterling  actress,  Jennie  Eustace,  and 
a  very  magnetic  young  woman  no  longer  in  the  theatre, 


named  Adelaide  Nowak.  I  think  it  rather  incumbent 
upon  me,  after  having  so  frankly  recorded  Daniel  Froh- 
man's  opinion,  to  say  that  the  play  was  the  biggest  dra- 
matic success  of  that  year.  It  went  through  the  season 
in  New  York,  while  a  second  company  was  playing  it 
in  Chicago,  and  John  Mason  continued  to  play  in  it  until 
nearly  three  years  later,  when  he  went  into  another  play 
in  which  I  had  written  him  an  equally  prominent  but 
altogether  different  character. 

I  have  said  earlier  in  these  chapters  that  I  hope  at 
some  other  time  to  write  an  article  on  psychic  phenomena 
as  I  have  found  them.  In  my  wish  to  be  thoroughly  in- 
formed concerning  the  background  against  which  in  "The 
Witching  Hour"  I  was  outlining  comparatively  so  little 
I  got  a  fund  of  information  that  would  have  served  for 
fifty  plays.  It  is  not  strange  then  that  the  two  next  plays 
after  "The  Witching  Hour"  should  have  been  on  some- 
what related  subjects.  The  older  readers  will  remember 
that  in  the  earlier  stages  of  the  cult  of  Christian  Science 
there  was  a  considerable  public  interest  in  the  subject 
of  mental  science,  so  called,  and  therapeutical  and  meta- 
physical values  of  suggestion. 

My  next  play,  "The  Harvest  Moon,"  was  upon  this 
theme.  There  is  not  enough  novelty  in  the  story  or  in- 
cident in  the  history  of  the  play  to  make  it  worth  a 
reader's  attention.  One  item,  however,  has,  I  think, 
significance.  That  was  the  performance  of  Mr.  George 
Nash,  of  whom  I  have  already  written  as  an  excellent 
actor.  There  are  a  few  men  who  take  acting  as  an  art, 
and  when  we  find  one  of  these  we  usually  find  a  char- 
acter actor.  I  have  written  of  Lionel  Barrymore's  quali- 
ties in  this  department,  his  willingness  to  put  in  study 
on  the  type  he  is  to  portray.  George  Nash,  somewhat 


Lionel's  senior,  is  the  same  kind  of  man.  When  George 
knew  he  was  to  play  a  French  savant,  a  member  of  the 
Academy,  a  celebrated  person  from  his  own  country,  he 
went  over  to  Paris,  with  which  he  was  already  familiar, 
to  get  an  intimate  contact  with  the  type;  to  study  de- 
portment, carriage,  gesture,  expression,  and  accent.  He 
came  back  with  all  that  and  a  complete  wardrobe  for  the 
play  made  by  a  French  tailor;  his  shirts  and  collars, 
linen  and  neckties  and  footwear  were  authentic.  One 
might  think  that  this  attention  would  hardly  be  repaid; 
that  only  the  most  external  showing  would  affect  an  audi- 
ence; and  it  may  be  the  case.  But  there  was  another 
effect  upon  the  man  himself  which  bred  an  authority 
that  mere  assumption  could  not  have  secured.  The  play 
was  only  moderately  successful,  but  that  element  of  the 
public  that  approved  it  remained  very  loyal  to  Mr.  Nash; 
and  although  twelve  years  have  gone  by,  I  get  an  occa- 
sional letter  inquiring  about  him  and  the  possible  repro- 
duction of  the  play.  It  is  the  enthusiasm  of  such  men  as 
this  in  the  theatre  that  keeps  alive  the  interest  of  men 
writing  for  it. 

About  this  time  there  came  over  the  taste  of  the  public 
one  of  those  changes  imperceptible  in  its  progress  but 
definite  in  its  results,  concerning  the  form  of  the  musical 
play.  People  began  to  lose  interest  to  some  extent  in 
the  formal,  well-made  comic  opera  and  turned  to  what 
came  to  be  known  as  the  musical  comedy.  With  this 
in  mind,  a  manager  came  to  me  to  help  him  get  a  story 
suitable  to  the  personality  and  talents  of  De  Wolf  Hopper. 
He  had  a  facile  and  rapid-working  musician  with  most 
melodic  faculty,  Mr.  Silvio  Hein,  who  stood  ready  to 
furnish  the  music,  and  also  one  or  two  young  men  who 
wanted  to  write  verses  for  such  a  piece.  All  that  he 


needed  was  a  comic  story  with  some  vivacity,  and  a  cen- 
tral character  that  would  carry  Mr.  Hopper;  or,  to  put 
it  more  complimentarily  and  more  truthfully  to  that 
artist,  a  character  which  Mr.  Hopper  could  properly 

If  the  call  had  not  been  a  hurry  one  I  probably  should 
have  started  to  build  something  from  the  ground  up; 
but  with  the  feeling  of  haste  in  the  enterprise  my  mind 
by  association  drifted  to  other  occasions  of  theatrical 
need.  I  remembered  the  times  we  had  put  up  "His  Last 
Legs"  as  an  emergency  bill.  One  important  fact  in  its 
favor  as  the  groundwork  for  a  musical  play  was  that  it 
was  short;  it  required  no  trimming;  it  was  almost  in 
shape  ready  for  added  lyrics  and  music.  It  needed  a 
little  change  that  would  allow  for  the  introduction  of  a 
female  chorus,  but  this  was  easily  fixed  by  making  its 
scenes  those  of  a  female  seminary  instead  of  a  private 
house.  To  emphasize  Mr.  Hopper's  importance  to  the 
eye  we  gave  him  a  little  horse-racing  kind  of  a  valet  of 
devoted  attachment.  This  wasn't  particularly  new. 
Mr.  Hopper  had  in  two  or  three  of  his  earlier  successes 
been  so  seconded  by  Alfred  Klein,  a  talented  brother 
of  the  dramatist,  Charles  Klein.  I  gave  the  manager  a 
synopsis  of  the  story;  his  verse- writer  and  his  musician 
went  to  work;  chorus  was  assembled  for  rehearsal;  I 
took  the  book  of  "His  Last  Legs,"  and  dictating  from  it 
made  a  free  transcription  with  such  changes  as  would 
accommodate  the  differences  I  have  described.  The  com- 
pany was  ready  to  play  in  four  weeks,  which  is  somewhat 
less  than  the  time  usually  taken  by  musical  rehearsals 
for  a  book  that  has  already  been  completed. 

Feeling  that  the  public  would  be  slow  to  accept  a 
musical  play  from  me,  the  manager  announced  the  au- 


thorship  of  the  book  as  the  joint  work  of  Henri  and 
Bernard.  Henri  was  a  supposititious  person,  guessed 
without  any  particular  mental  strain  as  the  name  indi- 
cates. Bernard  was  the  English  author  of  "His  Last 
Legs."  Mr.  Hein's  name  went  on  the  programme  prop- 
erly as  the  composer.  The  play,  called  "The  Matinee 
Idol,"  was,  as  I  have  implied  in  earlier  chapters,  an  im- 
mediate success.  Critics  were  a  little  at  sea  over  the 
English  and  French  collaborateurs  on  the  book,  but  they 
were  agreed  upon  its  value  to  Mr.  Hopper  and  were  glad 
to  see  him  once  more  on  Broadway  with  something  suited 
to  his  talents. 

When  John  Mason  had  about  finished  playing  "The 
Witching  Hour,"  I  was  trying  to  get  for  him  a  story  of 
equal  seriousness  and  value,  and  a  character  necessarily 
mature,  that  he  could  play,  and  follow  his  performance 
of  Jack  Brookfield.  The  doctor  in  "As  a  Man  Thinks" 
was  to  my  mind  such  a  part,  and  his  relationship  to  his 
patient  in  the  last  act  I  regarded  as  a  key-note  for  his 
character,  although  the  least  dramatic  of  the  things  he 
might  do.  I  therefore  tried  it  out,  as  I  have  said  one 
sometimes  does,  in  a  little  one-act  play.  We  gave  this 
at  the  Lambs.  Mr.  Eugene  Presbrey  played  the  sick 
man,  and  I  played  the  doctor  myself.  I  felt  that  we  had 
a  character  that  would  stand  development  and  that  would 
be  acceptable.  I  knew  a  Jewish  doctor  who  was  giving 
a  great  deal  of  his  time  to  the  care  of  crippled  children, 
and  doing  it  with  an  unselfishness  and  a  lack  of  adver- 
tising that  made  it  admirable.  I  thought  it  would  be 
acceptable  to  the  public  to  see  a  Jew  put  in  that  position 
prominently  instead  of  having  him  ridiculed  as  he  gen- 
erally was  in  the  theatre.  I  share  none  of  the  hostility 
that  many  do  to  the  dominant  management  in  the  Ameri- 


can  theatre  because  it  is  Jewish.  I  felt  then,  and  have 
said  more  than  once  in  public  since,  that  the  Jews  were 
in  control  of  the  American  theatre  because  they  deserved 
to  be.  The  theatre  as  a  business  is  one  that  does  not 
lend  itself  readily  to  union  hours  for  the  persons  in  con- 
trol. Its  problems  are  constant  from  the  moment  one 
comes  on  duty  to  the  time  that  the  curtain  drops  and 
often  later.  There  is  something  in  the  Anglo-Saxon  tem- 
perament disposed  to  neglect  these  duties.  The  Jew 
will  stick  as  close  to  the  work  as  the  work  requires,  just 
as  he  sticks  to  his  work  in  the  sweatshop,  at  the  sewing- 
machine,  or  long  hours  in  the  second-hand  clothing  busi- 
ness. Starting  out  to  do  something,  he  persists.  For 
that  reason  among  others  the  theatre  falls  readily  into 
his  control. 

Having  made  my  doctor  a  Hebrew,  I  began  to  think 
in  terms  of  Hebrew  philosophy.  I  moved  naturally  to 
the  double  standard  of  morality  discussed  in  the  play; 
the  fact  that  in  modern  society  for  a  breach  of  the  con- 
jugal contract  woman  is  more  severely  punished  than  is 
man.  While  with  us  the  punishment  is  in  the  pillory 
of  public  opinion,  in  the  old  Jewish  law  the  woman  was 
stoned  to  death.  The  play  tries  to  show  that  such 
punishment  must  persist  so  long  as  the  family  is  the  unit 
of  our  social  structure.  A  woman  knows  or  may  know 
the  father  of  her  children.  A  father  can  be  sure  of  his 
paternal  relationship  only  in  the  degree  of  his  faith  in 
his  wife.  We  can  maintain  a  social  structure,  no  matter 
how  unworthy  husbands  and  fathers  may  be;  but  as 
soon  as  mothers  fail  chaos  has  arrived.  If  womanhood 
becomes  corrupt  the  only  life-preserver  that  can  keep 
even  the  heads  of  humanity  above  the  waters  is  a  paternal 
state,  a  strong  socialistic  government,  in  which  the  in- 


dividual  and  not  the  family  is  the  unit,  in  which  the  ille- 
gitimate, or  foundling,  child  is  just  as  important  as  one 
born  lawfully. 

The  dramatization  of  that  idea  so  clumsily  stated  in 
this  dictated  paragraph  made  a  second  theme  in  the 
play.  These  two  ideas,  one  associated  with  mental  science 
and  the  other  associated  with  the  Jewish  idea  of  woman's 
greater  responsibility,  led  to  the  construction  of  the  story 
which  is  now  in  the  book  "As  a  Man  Thinks." 

In  this  play  Mason  made  an  impression  as  profound 
as  the  one  he  had  made  in  "The  Witching  Hour,"  and 
in  a  character  almost  diametrically  opposed.  This  is 
not  my  own  partial  estimate  alone.  There  was  hardly  a 
principal  city  in  the  United  States  in  which  some  Jewish 
rabbi  did  not  speak  upon  his  performance  in  the  part. 
Few  authors  are  so  fortunate  in  their  supporting  casts 
as  I  was  in  this  company  that  was  associated  with  Mr. 
Mason  in  that  play.  Walter  Hale  and  Vincent  Serrano, 
about  both  of  whom  I  have  written  fairly  intimately  in 
earlier  chapters,  had  parts  that  suited  them.  William 
Sampson,  referred  to  only  a  few  paragraphs  above,  played 
the  comedy  old  man  with  fine  discretion  and  excellent 
effect;  and  that  convincing  player  of  American  business 
men,  Mr.  John  Flood,  had  such  a  role. 

Some  writer  for  the  papers  spoke  of  the  flowerlike 
Chrystal  Herne.  I  have  no  quarrel  with  that  descrip- 
tion of  the  lady,  but  what  impressed  me  about  her  work 
as  Mrs.  Clayton  was  the  expression  of  mental  alertness, 
the  constantly  emotional  and  thinking  personality.  The 
play  was  printed  as  a  book.  When  an  author  inscribes 
a  book  it  isn't  always  easy  to  find  the  most  proper  phrase, 
but  in  the  copy  that  was  given  to  this  actress  I  had  no 
difficulty  in  writing,  "To  Chrystal  Herne,  who  was  Mrs. 


Clayton."  If  in  writing  the  part  I  had  a  conception  that 
differed  from  her  performance  it  was  not  sufficiently 
definite  to  hold  its  place  against  her  lifelike  and  convinc- 
ing assumption  of  the  role.  In  the  more  mature  part  it 
would  be  impossible  to  get  a  better  actress  than  Amelia 
Gardner.  So,  as  I  have  said,  taking  the  cast  altogether, 
it  was  such  another  organization  as  I  had  had  only  three 
or  four  times  in  some  thirty  years.  The  other  casts  asso- 
ciated in  my  mind  were  the  ones  that  played  "Alabama" 
and  "Arizona";  "Mrs.  Leffingwell's  Boots"  and  "The 
Other  Girl." 


This  report  carries  me  to  March  13,  1911.  I  am 
tempted  to  write  of  subsequent  events,  but  will  wait. 
Early  in  these  chapters  I  referred  to  the  remarks  of  the 
Autocrat  of  the  Breakfast  Table,  as  he  decided  to  offer 
the  brown  seed  capsules,  as  he  called  them,  the  early 
simple  memories  from  which  sprouted  such  "flowers  as 
his  garden  grew."  In  rather  haphazard  manner  I  have 
tumbled  my  planting  and  some  of  its  resultant  vegeta- 
tion into  the  notice  of  patient  and  hopeful  readers,  and 
now  as  I  near  the  end  of  the  hearing  I  fancy  them  saying, 
"Well?"  and  "What  of  it?"  In  one  of  Wilde's  plays  he 
has  a  speaker  respond  to  the  cue — experience.  "Ex- 
perience is  the  name  Tuppy  gives  to  his  mistakes."  As 
I  remember,  it  was  one  of  the  best  laughs  in  the  scene. 
But  experience  is  the  name  we  all  give  to  our  mistakes. 

What,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  is  so  significant  as  our  mis- 
takes? Certainly  our  successes  are  not  so  instructive. 
As  I  quickly  review  my  own  experience,  more  largely 
mistakes  than  I  have  felt  at  liberty  to  burden  others 
with,  and  attempt  the  difficult  feat  of  a  summary,  I  find 
myself  fronting  the  task  with  attention  directed  in  such 
home-made  method  as  mere  habit  has  formed. 

What  is  it  that  a  patient  friend  would  like  me  to  re- 
port— a  friend,  let  us  say,  like  the  poet  stranger  who  has 
read  some  early  chapters  of  this  stuff  and  is  moved  to 
write  to  me  this  month  of  April,  1922,  from  beside  his 



kerosene  lamp  in  the  town  of  Lost  Cabin,  Wyoming? 
Perhaps  he  would  ask:  "What  have  been  the  most  po- 
tent influences  you  have  known?  Or  to  what  opinions 
and  beliefs  have  these  influences  and  their  consequent 
effects  led  you  or  inclined  you?"  That's  what  I'd  like 
to  ask  any  man  whose  book  I've  read.  Perhaps  that  is 
what  we  all  are  practically  asking  every  book. 

Among  the  influences  important  to  me  have  been  a 
few  men,  more  fine  reputations,  and  still  more  fine  books, 
some  fine  women,  some  music,  both  rather  simple  and 
both  quite  old-fashioned.  The  books,  after  the  nursery 
jumble  was  past,  were,  in  order  of  discovery,  the  Bible, 
Shakespeare,  some  other  poets  already  named,  Wash- 
ington Irving,  Holmes,  Hawthorne,  IngersoII,  Plutarch, 
Emerson,  Doctor  Thomas  Jay  Hudson,  William  James, 
Thomas  Jefferson,  Hugo,  Voltaire,  Montaigne.  I  think 
the  Bible,  Shakespeare,  Holmes,  and  Emerson  influenced 
my  vocabulary  as  far  as  it  was  permeable  under  the  cal- 
lous of  the  railroad  yard. 

I  didn't  select  the  reading  by  any  superior  resolve  or 
instinct.  The  New  Testament  I  learned  by  rote  to  re- 
cite in  Sunday-school  for  tickets  exchangeable  for  prizes. 
I  have  a  recollection  of  reciting  on  one  Sunday  one  hun- 
dred and  forty-four  verses,  beginning  with,  "In  those 
days  came  John  the  Baptist,"  and  so  on.  This  was  not 
a  religious  exercise  with  us  boys.  It  was  a  business  prop- 
osition. I  have  since  gone  to  the  New  Testament  with 
various  motives;  once  to  study  out  and  as  far  as  pos- 
sible deduce  from  the  speech  and  story  the  personal  ap- 
pearance of  the  Man  of  Nazareth  when  there  was  a  proj- 
ect to  produce  a  passion  play.  The  Old  Testament  I 
read  for  its  entertaining  stories,  skipping,  boy-fashion, 
the  begats. 


Shakespeare,  in  his  acting  plays — that  is  to  say,  those 
in  the  regular  and  possible  repertoires — I  read  and  stud- 
ied as  a  matter  of  professional  requirement.  My  read- 
ing of  Holmes  was  prompted  by  John  Colby's  liking  for 
him.  Plutarch  was  an  assignment  on  the  Missouri  Re- 
publican. One  day  in  1887  I  brought  in  the  "Life  of 
Lycurgus,"  revamped  and  adapted  to  the  space  of  two 
columns  and  a  half  of  dialogue  between  two  boys,  one 
of  whom  had  read  the  story  and  was  telling  it  to  the 
other.  This  voluntary  selection  so  pleased  Frank  O'Neill, 
the  editor,  that  I  was  assigned  to  do  one  or  two  of  the 
lives  every  week.  I  think  there  are  fifty  altogether.  I 
rewrote  and  illustrated  forty  of  them.  One  may  learn 
much  in  reading  a  history  such  as  Plutarch's  "Life  of 
Caesar,"  but  he  learns  it  much  more  thoroughly  when 
he  is  required  to  condense  and  rewrite  it. 

Emerson's  essays  were  first  called  vividly  to  my  at- 
tention by  a  little  actress  named  Dudley  who  was  in  our 
Dickson's  Sketch  Club.  She  seemed  to  get  a  good  deal 
of  poise  and  self-possession  from  them.  The  essays  fasci- 
nated me,  and  my  first  purchase  of  books,  when  I  had 
a  house  of  my  own,  was  the  Concord  edition  of  Emer- 
son's complete  works  in  twelve  volumes.  In  the  year 
1909  the  same  publishers  issued  a  ten- volume  edition  of 
Emerson's  "Journals."  These  were  edited  from  his 
entries  in  his  private  journals  from  the  year  1820,  when 
he  was  seventeen  years  of  age,  until  1881,  when  he  was 
in  his  seventy-eighth  year.  No  writing  could  be  more 
revealing  than  these  almost  daily  notes  and  comments 
upon  his  observations,  and  his  thoughts  about  the  things 
he  saw  and  the  books  he  read.  They  let  a  reader  into  the 
very  springs  or  fountainheads  of  Emerson's  utterances 
throughout  his  life,  and  permit  a  study  of  the  form  and 


color  that  he  gave  the  same  ideas  clothed  in  the  dialect 
of  his  day. 

For  Voltaire  I  had  the  unreasoning  abhorrence  that  is 
drilled  into  the  consciousness  of  nearly  all  children  raised 
under  a  church  influence.  Much  as  I  admired  IngersoII, 
his  unstinted  eulogy  of  Voltaire  did  not  remove  this  prej- 
udice. In  France  I  was  astonished  to  see  the  life-sized 
seated  figure  of  Voltaire  by  Houdon  in  the  foyer  of  the 
Theatre  Francais,  and  was  again  impressed  by  the  stand- 
ing statue  by  Caille  on  the  Quai  Malaquais  in  front  of 
the  building  of  LTnstitut  de  France.  I  began  to  believe 
there  must  be  something  admirable  in  the  man,  when 
at  the  most  prominent  points  on  both  sides  of  the  Seine 
a  nation  so  honored  him  in  its  capital.  Under  the  arcade 
of  the  Theatre  Odeon,  in  one  of  the  rows  of  bookstalls 
there,  I  saw  a  large  octavo  edition  of  Voltaire,  bound  in 
leather,  printed  in  1829,  on  fine  linen  paper,  no  longer 
employed,  so  far  as  I  know,  in  the  manufacture  of  books. 
The  edition  consisted  of  fifty-four  uniform  volumes.  The 
price  was  one  franc  each — a  total  of  ten  dollars  and 
eighty  cents  in  American  money.  I  bought  them  as  a 
possibly  foolish  adventure  in  property  book  backs.  The 
dramas,  being  principally  in  verse,  had  little  interest  for 
me;  but  the  numerous  essays  and  letters  were  the  most 
delightful  reading. 

To  my  astonishment,  I  found  that  the  religious  views 
of  these  great  men,  from  Plutarch  to  Emerson,  were  not 
far  enough  apart  to  have  the  difference  a  matter  of  dis- 
cussion. They  all  thought  alike  and  expressed  themselves 
in  similar  terms.  Then  one  day  I  read  in  Emerson's 
latest  notes,  written  in  his  sixty-sixth  year,  this  single 
detached  line:  "When  I  find  in  people  narrow  religion' 
I  find  narrow  reading."  My  own  reading  is  regrettably 


narrow,  but  it  has  been  sufficient  to  make  me  wish  not 
to  disturb  anybody's  religious  views  or  shake  his  creed. 
There  is  enough  good  in  any  one  of  the  creeds  to  help 
its  possessor  through  his  life  if  he  will  permit  it  to  guide 
him  in  his  own  conduct.  But  there  is  enough  tyranny 
in  any  one  of  them  to  make  its  possessor  intolerable  when 
he  attempts  by  force  to  impose  his  belief  upon  another. 

In  1890  Funk  and  Wagnalls,  encouraged  by  eighteen 
hundred  gentlemen  connected  with  the  enterprise  under 
the  designation  of  patrons,  printed  what  was  called  the 
"Jeffersonian  Cyclopedia."  This  volume,  as  large  as  a 
law-book,  contains  over  a  thousand  pages,  with  alpha- 
betically arranged  utterances  of  Mr.  Jefferson,  ranging 
from  a  line  or  two  to  paragraphs  of  half  a  column,  and 
numerically  listed  to  the  number  of  nine  thousand  two 
hundred  and  twenty-eight  quotations.  In  an  appendix 
to  these  there  is  a  document  drawn  by  Mr.  Jefferson  in 
the  year  1786  for  the  Assembly  of  Virginia,  entitled,  "A 
Bill  for  Establishing  Religious  Freedom."  In  the  body 
of  this  bill,  which  is  before  me,  is  this  sentence:  "Our 
civil  rights  have  no  dependence  on  our  religious  opinions 
any  more  than  our  opinions  of  physics  and  chemistry." 

This  valuable  book  was  a  gift  to  me.  The  distinguished 
donor  was  Mr.  William  Jennings  Bryan,  and  I  am  having 
a  little  difficulty  in  reconciling  my  idea  of  Mr.  Bryan's 
admiration  for  the  book  and  his  recent  earnest  endeavor 
— which  failed  only  by  a  vote  of  forty-two  to  forty-one 
— to  persuade  the  Kentucky  Legislature  to  forbid  the 
discussion  of  the  theory  of  evolution  in  the  public  schools 
because  it  didn't  square  with  his  deductions  upon  geology 
as  set  forth  in  the  Book  of  Genesis.  One  glides  so  easily 
in  these  days  from  a  discussion  of  religious  beliefs  into 
the  consideration  of  questions  political  that  I  am  impelled 


to  take  in  lazy  fashion  this  chance  for  digression  and 
move  on  to  a  statement  of  my  political  views. 

As  a  page-boy  in  Congress  I  was  made  aware  of  the 
two  theories  of  government  in  America:  the  one  advanced 
and  advocated  by  Alexander  Hamilton,  whose  genius 
nobody  seems  to  dispute,  and  which  as  a  matter  of  simple 
reference  may  be  called  the  system  of  centralization; 
the  other — the  Jefferson  idea — or  the  system  of  local 
self-government.  All  through  my  life,  between  those 
page-boy  days  and  now,  I  have  heard  discussions  of  these 
two  theories  and  occasionally  had  glimpses  of  the  ap- 
plication of  one  or  the  other  theory  in  practice.  In  my 
own  mind  I  have  finally  come  to  something  like  an  ad- 
justment between  them  for  America.  I  am  not  sure  that 
my  conclusions  are  right,  but  they  have  that  consoling 
quality  that  sometimes  comes  with  a  decision — namely, 
peace.  There  has  also  been  economy  of  time  and  atten- 
tion through  having  some  beliefs  that  were  not  dissolving 
views.  One  important  contribution  to  this  state  of  mind 
was  made  late  in  the  year  1891,  when  I  found  at  a  book- 
stall a  small  octavo  volume  by  John  Fiske  entitled  "Civil 
Government  in  the  United  States."  I  read  it  carefully, 
and  at  times  I  studied  it.  In  a  bibliographical  note  on 
page  274,  in  a  list  of  books  valuable  to  the  student  of 
government,  Mr.  Fiske  wrote  the  following: 

A  book  of  great  merit,  which  ought  to  be  reprinted  as  it  is  now 
not  easy  to  obtain,  is  Toulmin  Smith's  "  Local  Self-Government  and 
Centralization,"  London,  1851.  Its  point  of  view  is  sufficiently  in- 
dicated by  the  following  admirable  pair  of  maxims  (p.  12): 

"  Local  self-government  is  that  system  of  government  under  which 
the  greatest  number  of  minds,  knowing  the  most,  and  having  the 
fullest  opportunities  of  knowing  it,  about  the  special  matter  in  hand, 
and  having  the  greatest  interest  in  its  well-working,  have  the  man- 
agement of  it,  or  control  over  it. 


"Centralization  is  that  system  of  government  under  which  the 
smallest  number  of  minds,  and  those  knowing  the  least,  and  having 
the  fewest  opportunities  of  knowing  it,  about  the  special  matter  in 
hand,  and  having  the  smallest  interest  in  its  well-working,  have  the 
management  of  it,  or  control  over  it." 

An  immense  amount  of  wretched  misgovernment  would  be  avoided 
if  all  legislators  and  all  voters  would  engrave  these  wholesome  defini- 
tions upon  their  minds. 

Later  in  a  campaign,  I  quoted  these  two  maxims  at 
a  meeting  at  which  Mr.  William  Jennings  Bryan  was